Entries tagged with: Nico Muhly
by Andrew Frisicano, photos by Stephanie Berger
NYP rehearsing Nico's "Detailed Instructions" (via)
Members of New York Philharmonic and conductor/NYP music director Alan Gilbert premiered new works by Nico Muhly, Matthias Pintscher and Sean Shepherd at Symphony Space last Friday (4/16). The show was the second edition of NYP's CONTACT! series, which comissions new music from young composers and debuted in December. Online radio station Q2 will be broadcasting the performance, which included live interviews conducted by WNYC's John Schaefer, on Thursday, April 22nd at 7 pm and Saturday, April 24th at 4pm.
With a darker hued string section led by the violas, [Nico Muhly] work Detailed Instructions takes on a sound world that stood apart from the other pieces on the program. Muhly is post-minimal in orientation. And while a couple of the composers in the audience who sat near me groused at intermission that his work is 'indebted to Philip Glass,' what they didn't seem to hear was Muhly's playful departures from mainstream minimalism.As mentioned before, Nico Muhly's arrangements can be found on the new records by Jonsi and Sam Amidon.
Instead of Glass' symmetrical use of ostinati, Muhly's repeating figures dart in and out of the 'expected phrase lengths,' creating delightful surprises and heady syncopations. In the more reposeful central section, he channeled an appealing lyricism from his recent pop-based excursions into a spacious orchestral mold. The third section gave the NYPO musicians a chance to up the bpm quotient, in a breakneck paced, dazzling finale. Make no mistake, Muhly is no mere retro-minimalist; quite the contrary, he's a compelling new voice on the scene. [File Under?]
The Symphony Space show was followed by a performance at Metropolitan Museum of Art the day after, which was the last Contact! show of the NY Phil "season" (which runs through July). The series picks up again with three new commissions next December. Pictures from Friday's show are below...
by Andrew Frisicano
Signal at LPR
New music ensemble Signal will visit (Le) Poisson Rouge on Sunday, April 11th for two performances of Philip Glass's 1981 album Glassworks (its NY live premiere) along with Glass's "Music in Similar Motion" and other works. Tickets for the early set and late set are both on sale. Clips from Glassworks are posted below.
Also coming up, Signal will be at Merkin Hall on May 27th to debut a new piece by Nico Muhly and UK composer Harrison Birtwistle's The Corridor (its US premiere). The show is part of Kaufman Center's Contemporary Contexts series and Face the Music, "Kaufman Center's critically-acclaimed teen ensemble," will open with a pre-show performance of Muhly's "Honest Music" and "How About Now." Tickets are on sale for that.
Nico Muhly (who worked on the new albums by Jonsi and Sam Amidon, and who played himself quite a bit at Big Ears Fest) was commissioned along with composers Sean Shepherd and Matthias Pintscher to write a piece for Contact!, the NY Philharmonic's new music series that kicked off last December. All three pieces debut April 16th at Symphony Space (and played again a day later at Metropolitan Museum of Art). Tickets for Symphony Space show are on sale.
Outside of NYC, Signal travels upstate to join Eastman School of Music's Musica Nova and others in performing Steve Reich pieces in Rochester and Buffalo this May and June (works include Music for 18 Musicians and Pulitzer winning Double Sextet).
Another thing Signal has on its calendar is the 2010 Bang on a Can Marathon, set for Sunday, June 27th, noon-midnight, at World Financial Center Winter Garden. At the fest, the group will participate in Shelter, a multimedia work co-composed by BoaC founders Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe and David Lang. The initial lineup also includes the US premiere of Professor Bad Trip by Fausto Romitelli. A video of that piece is below.
Most recently, Signal joined Shara Worden and others to perform Sarah Kirkland Snider's Penelope at Galapagos on Saturday, April 3rd.
All the above-mentioned videos posted below...
Jonsi's tour kick in Vancouver 4/6 (A Hermida)
On a set that looked like the Museum of Natural History after a fire (trust me), a tight musical arc that fit the songs into one another like puzzle pieces, and gorgeous projections courtesy of London's 59 Productions, the show was less winsome rock and more serious Theatre. There were costumes, too: All but one band member wore a jacket trailing bright fabric strips that hung like rainbow tree moss.Jonsi's world tour in support of his solo debut, Go, kicked off last night (Tuesday, April 6th) in Vancouver. The pictures, video (below) and review above are first looks at the sprawling stage show set up for the tour...
But when the whole band combined like a marvelous machine, as on the twinkling "Sinking Friendships" or thrashing, thunderous closer "Grow Till Tall," the Jonsi experience reaches its height. Percussionist Samuli Kosminen manages to alternatively scare and soothe with tools both expected (good old drums) and unusual (a rock, I think).
In between, "Tornado" hinted at both orchestra and film score, "Go Do" found a sunny, breakneck pop sprint, and "Around Us" was a hypnotic, trippy epic, complete with live vocal loops.
The pinnacle, however, came in the encore. Jonsi, in full Native American headdress, emerged from the side of the stage and put his plumage on full display. Then he smiled, and it was clear: Sigur Ros is a beautiful thing, but when he goes solo, Jonsi does something amazing -- he lets his freak flag fly. "I want to be a miracle," he sang on "Boy Lilikoi." [Spin]
[Jonsi] enlisted a design company that creates sets for the Metropolitan Opera Company, the English National Opera and other bastions of high culture. The company, Fifty Nine Productions, was looking to branch out into pop music. "We were all really big Sigur Rós fans. They were literally on the list of people we wanted to work with," says director Mark Grimmer.Jonsi and band play Vancouver again tonight (4/7). Their tour goes on to include Coachella and two nights at Terminal 5 on May 8th and 9th. Tickets are still on sale for those.
For Jónsi, Fifty Nine Productions created a sort of decimated museum exhibit on stage, with heavy use of video projections--without jumbo-sized screens. "We try to integrate the images into the fabric of the shows and project them onto objects that aren't dead when there's nothing on it," Mr. Grimmer says. For instance, video is projected in museum-like exhibit cases along with on Jónsi himself. [Wall Street Journal]
If you need a Jonsi fix sooner, there's a free listening party tonight at Le Poisson Rouge (no RSVP required) for the new album, which came out today (4/7)...
"Album available to purchase on site, and happy hour drink specials for the duration of the event. The album will be played in full, with giveaways set up for Jonsi/Sigur Ros vinyl, and tickets for Jonsi's Terminal 5 shows on May 8th and 9th. Video footage from Jonsi's new music videos and related projects to be screened as well."A couple more pictures and videos from the Canada show, the set list and more are below...
by Alex Lewis
Sam Amidon @ Big Ears Fest (more by Andrew Frisicano)
Sam Amidon sung the very first note at the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville on Friday. Overshadowed on the festival's bill by the likes of famed rock bands (The National, Vampire Weekend) and legendary composers (Terry Riley), many of the badge-wearing festival attendees didn't know what to expect when the tall, flannel-wearing Vermont-native's strange voice filled the Knoxville Museum of Art. But they were soon won over.
In retrospect he was perfect for the role. As a musician who has illuminated elements of Americana, past and present, through his re-imaginings of traditional Appalachian songs Amidon has become a vital member of the contemporary folk community. In the spirit of Big Ears, his music relies on collaboration. Along with Thomas Bartlett (also known as Doveman) and composer Nico Muhly he is a member of the 802 tour, whose performances are beautiful syntheses of three varied musical minds. Amidon had three scheduled performances at the festival. I caught up with him backstage at the Bijou Theater.
How did you end up at Big Ears?
Sam: It was through the 802 Tour. We [Nico Muhly, Thomas Bartlett, Nadia Sirota, and I] had done a tour about two summers ago and it was a total blast. So we are always looking to do, not necessarily another tour, but some more shows because we love playing together. While we're all pretty busy, it's usually hard to find a time. But this weekend worked out. Another factor was Bryce [Dessner], someone who we all encounter in different capacities and there are so many people here who we know and play with. For instance, Thomas plays keyboards with The National. There were just so many wonderful musicians so we were totally happy to come play.
by Andrew Frisicano
Collaborations were the order of the day on Big Ears' Saturday, March 27th schedule (day two). At 1pm, the 802 Tour - Nico Muhly, Thomas Bartlett (Doveman) and Sam Amidon with violist Nadia Sirota - performed songs written by each. The National's Dessner brothers and drummer Bryan Devendorf joined for a selection of full-band Doveman songs, and the finale was a clamoring, epic version of the folk song "The Two Sisters" arranged by Nico (part of the percussion included Nico combing Thomas's hair). Sam played his own set with help from Thomas one day earlier, and later Saturday night.
Before that, the day started with Andrew W.K.'s Q&A-heavy lecture at the Knoxville Museum of Art (he played a set of music the night before) and a Bang on a Can All-Stars set that included works by Dave Longstreth, both at noon. Dirty Projectors performed later in the day (3:45pm) at Tennessee Theatre on a bill that also included DJ/Rupture and William Basinski who went on at the same time as Liturgy (who played at the Big Ears Annex at 2pm and then again at Pilot Light at midnight).
Clogs took the stage at the Bijou Theater with guests as well. Rumors of a solo set by Sufjan Steven circulated, but he only played one of his own songs, "Barn Owl Night Killer," on piano. Clogs were also assisted by Shara Worden, Aaron Dessner and Calder Quartet. Matt Berninger was delayed en route to Knoxville, so he didn't make his duet on "Last Song," for which main Clog Padma Newsome filled in. That wasn't the actual last song - new-album closer "We Were Here" was, which featured Sufjan on vocals and banjo along with Shara Worden and guitar by Aaron Dessner. A similar show happened in Brooklyn a few days earlier.
The Saturday headliners - Vampire Weekend and Joanna Newsom - both played to sold out crowds (Vampire Weekend at the sprawling, ornate-adorned 1600 seat Tennessee Theater with opener Abe Vigoda). Joanna Newsom's set was opened by Fred Armisen aka Jens Hannemann, a master of "complicated drummer technique." Armisen also joined her set for one song to play awkward and out-of-place cowbell.
At the Tennessee, the night ended with Terry Riley's Autodreamagraphical Tales - music from Bang on a Can over Terry reading from his actual dreams (Eastern religion and weed popped up frequently) - and In C, led by BoaC's Evan Ziporyn and featuring the rest of Bang on a Can All-Stars as well as Calder Quartet, Clogs, Nico Muhly, Nadia Sirota, Gyan Riley, and Terry on voice. The open-ended song stretched to an hour, canceling out any chance to catch late night sets from Javelin and Gang Gang Dance. Gang Gang was stil going when I arrived, but the club shut down the power mid-song and flipped on the lights promptly at 3am, sending everyone home.
A recap of Friday is HERE. More pictures and videos from Saturday are below...
Canadian songwriter Patrick Watson will be playing a pair of NYC shows this May to kick off a run of US dates. He visits Thursday, May 6th at the Bell House (tickets) and Friday, May 7th at 92YTribeca (tickets). Before those shows, he plays Canada with Timber Timbre (who play NYC and tour with the Low Anthem this April).
Opening the two NYC shows will be Doveman, who joined the National at their recent shows at the Bell House. Doveman/Thomas Barlett also plays with Nico Muhly at the Kitchen on March 18th and 19th in a project called Peter Pears. Tickets are still on sale.
Patrick Watson tour dates and videos are below...
Sigur Ros have announced that they're taking an indefinite hiatus to focus on family and other projects. Members Kjartan and Georg are spending time with their newborn children, and singer Jónsi is releasing a solo album and touring. The band was previously reported to be working on a new record last year. Jónsi wrote on their site, "we started working on something a few months ago, then we scrapped everything and sold our studio and rehearsal space. now we are back in the drummer's garage, rocking out like we did when we were 14. i think it's gonna be good."
Jónsi's debut solo album, Go, comes out April 5th on XL Recordings. The song "Boy Lilikoi" is streaming on his website and its artwork is above. The album features arrangement work by Nico Muhly, percussion by Samuli Kosminen, and production by Jonsi, Alex Somers (Jonsi's boyfriend and Riceboy Sleeps partner) and Peter Katis (who has worked wth Interpol, The National & Tokyo Police Club).
Jónsi is working with London-based 59 Productions on the set, costumes and stage-show for his upcoming world tour, which will "open in North America in April 2010, and will come to Europe in late May [dates TBA still]." The company recently leaked teaser photos (possibly mock-ups of the stage), which are posted below. The full tour hasn't been announced yet, but it will come to NYC's Terminal 5 on Saturday, May 8th. Tickets go on sale Friday, February 12th at noon.
UPDATE: Full tour announced and it includes two NYC shows.
Jónsi played songs off the new record on NYC's Soundcheck on January 21st. That's streaming on the station's site. Videos from the making of the album, teaser pictures and album tracklist are below...
Puss n Boots (aka Sasha Dobson, Catherine Popper, and Norah Jones (not Avril Lavigne as listed on Mercury Lounge's website) are opening for Doveman and friends at Mercury Lounge on January 12th. Tickets are still on sale. As previously mentioned, Doveman band member Sam Amidon opens that show too.
Tickets are also now on sale for the two "Doveman + Peter Pears : An Evening With Thomas Bartlett and Nico Muhly" shows at The Kitchen.
Norah Jones, Sam Amidon, Nico Muhly, and members of the National are among those who contributed to the new Doveman album.
Doveman, Sam Amidon and Nico Muhly are playing this year's Big Ears Fest which is curated by a member of the National.
Beth Orton and Shazad (who also plays in Doveman) both contribute to Sam's forthcoming album.
Beth Orton has some shows coming up of her own too. Video of Sam and Beth performing together in London, below...
Joanna Newsom is one of the announced acts for this year's Big Ears Fest in Knoxville, TN, March 26th-28th. Others on the initial lineup include Vampire Weekend, St. Vincent, the Calder Quartet, Andrew WK, The Ex, Gang Gang Dance, Clogs, 802 Tour (Nico Muhly / Doveman / Sam Amidon with Nadia Sirota), The xx, Javelin, DJ/Rupture (solo), DJ/Rupture and Andy Moor, My Brightest Diamond, Gyan Riley, and jj. The fest's artist in residence is composer Terry Riley and a number of his works will be performed (including 'In C'). Bryce Dessner of the National is also one of the curators. Weekend tickets are on sale now. Tickets to invididual shows will be announced later this month, along with the schedule (shows are at different venues around town).
Sam Amidon @ LPR in June (more by Fresh Bread)
Solo artist & Doveman band member Sam Amidon's new record I See The Sign will be out in March on Bedroom Community and features contributions from Beth Orton, Shahzad Ismaily, Nico Muhly, and Valgeir Sigurdsson. Its first song "How Come the Blood" is up as a free download and streaming at MySpace.
Sam has a bunch of shows coming up, two of which are in NYC for now. He plays Rockwood Music Hall tonight (1/4), and then he opens (and probably plays as part of the "friends") at the Doveman & Friends show at Mercury Lounge on January 12th.
Beth Orton has shows coming up in NYC (and LA) this month too. Sam's new album cover art, some videos and all dates below...
What makes an album great? And perhaps even more critical for this list, what makes a great album gay? To create our list of the 100 Greatest, Gayest Albums of All Time, we polled more than 100 actors, comedians, musicians, writers, critics, performance artists, label reps, and DJs, asking each to list the 10 most important albums of their lives. After receiving responses from Boy George, Rufus Wainwright, Cyndi Lauper, the Indigo Girls' Amy Ray, Perez Hilton, Nate Berkus, Jake Shears, Ed Droste, Nico Muhly, John Cameron Mitchell, Wilson Cruz, Junior Vasquez, Janis Ian, Lady Bunny and a slew of others, we tallied the results to determine our top-100 list. [Out]And the gayest album of all time goes to.... David Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The entire list is at Out's site. They also ranked the The Gayest Christmas Songs, and The Gayest Videos
Pitchfork also just released their list of the Best Albums of 2009.
by Andrew Frisicano
ACME...outdoors in warmer times
Tonight (12/17) at the Tank, American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) perform music from Phil Kline and John Cage (two earlier works, String Quartet in Four Parts and Credo In Us). Kline's annual Unsilent Night event just happened in NYC on December 12th (and is still to come in other cities). His piece Exquisite Corpses, on the program for ACME, also prominently features boomboxes. He's also put together a new acoustic arrangement of his string quartet The Blue Room and Other Stories (originally written for Ethel whose version is below), which ACME will be debuting. Tickets are on sale.
Across town and also tonight (12/17), the New York Philharmonic will be launching its Contact! new music series at Symphony Space (95th and Broadway). Four composers - Arlene Sierra, Lei Liang, Marc-André Dalbavie & Arthur Kampela - will be debuting very different compositions with the group. Video and audio previews of those are below. Tickets are on sale. An encore performance (to borrow a phrase) takes place Saturday, December 19th at Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The second Contact! program - with new music from Sean Shepherd, Nico Muhly and Matthias Pintscher - comes April 16th at Symphony Space and April 17th at Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Videos and more info are below...
by Andrew Frisicano
Thomas Bartlett aka Doveman
On November 1st, Doveman opened up at Mercury Lounge for The Ghost of a Sabre Toothed Tiger, a project that features Sean Lenon, his model girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl (who, as announced from the stage, had only learned to play bass a few months prior), Cibo Matto's Yuka Honda and mi-gu drummer Yuko Araki. A week prior, both bands performed at Doveman's loft CD release party for The Conformist with different lineups.
The headlining Ghost of a Sabre Toothed Tiger is a relatively new project (with no records out) that plays tightly composed psychedelic pop. They also dip into Sean Lennon's previous catalog, like for an extended Maggot Brain-esque jam on his 2006 song "Dead Meat." Drummer Araki in particular hit all the fills and accents as if the songs were familiar jazz charts. Doveman came back to guest on GOASTT's last song, "Richard Brown," a jokey tune from an unfinished musical. The whole band (minus Kemp Muhl) is touring Japan right now with Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band in support of her latest Between My Head and the Sky.
Doveman was also joined by a stellar band that included National drummer Bryan Devendorf and guest singer Martha Wainwright. Bartlett is currently on tour opening for Swell Season. He'll be playing at Joe's Pub on December 2nd as part of the Happy Ending music and reading series with Amanda Stern, Hedwig's John Cameron Mitchell and Jonathan Caouette. Tickets are on sale.
Doveman will also be returning to Mercury Lounge for an as-of-now unannounced bill on January 12th. Then he and frequent collaborator Nico Muhly will be doing two nights (of TBA) at The Kitchen on March 18th and 19th.
More pictures from Mercury Lounge and tour dates are below...
by Andrew Frisicano
GVSU New Music Ensemble...
In 2007, Michigan's Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble recorded a stellar version of Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians, which they performed that year at the Bang on a Can Marathon (which ran 27 hours). Members of the group traveled to NYC to join in the Kronos Quartet-led performance of Terry Riley's In C last April at Carnegie Hall. Now, GVSU New Music Ensemble has put together their own recording of the classic composition, and they've invited 16 musicians and composers to remix the piece for a 2-CD set, In C Remixed, that comes out November 17th on Innova (the digital version came out Oct. 27th).
The remixers, who include Glenn Kotche, Nico Muhly, BoaC cofounder David Lang, and DJ Spooky (whose BAM Next Wave show happens the first week in December), all have a lot to say about In C and have come up with some diverse, left-field takes on the piece. They run the gamut from the straightforward electronic-music path to glitch-pop and twisted orchestral turns.
The GVSU New Music Ensemble will be in NYC to perform the piece live at (Le) Poisson Rouge on Sunday, November 8th. Joining them will be two album contributors, Dennis DeSantis and R. Luke DuBois, who'll do a remix of the performance live (and add video). Also on the bill are Slow Boys (fellow In C remixers Michael Lowenstern on bass clarinet and Todd Reynolds on violin). Tickets are on sale.
A video preview of the album and its full tracklist with contibutors are below...
by Andrew Frisicano
Speaking of Nico Muhly, he just played a Wordless Music show at Columbia's Miller Theatre on September 9th. There he performed with '802 Tour,' a round-robin style stage show with frequent collaborators Sam Amidon and Thomas Bartlett...
Mr. Bartlett's piano-driven ballads, including some from a forthcoming CD, "The Conformist," had a shadowy, confessional intimacy that was accentuated by his tremulous, nearly whispered crooning. In sharp contrast, Mr. Amidon affected a ragged backwoods yelp for traditional shape-note songs and other folksy material.Barlett's new Doveman CD, The Conformist, which features Muhly and Sam Amidon prominently, will be out October 20th on the Brassland label. Also featured on the disc are the National's Matt Berninger, Aaron and Bryce Dessner and Bryan Devendorf, a string section, and additional guest spots by Martha Wainwright and Norah Jones.
Mr. Muhly's appealing instrumental compositions drew on Philip Glass's harmonic stasis and the rhythmic vitality of Stravinsky and Ligeti, mixed with a flair for electronic counterpoint that was all Mr. Muhly's own. Yuki Numata, a terrific violinist from the ACME group, brought out an ardent romanticism in "Honest Music," for violin and electronics....
Where genres had been gently mixed during the concert, in an encore medley they were mangled outright. Mr. Muhly waxed rhapsodic at the piano in Mariah Carey's "My All"; Mr. Bartlett offered a limpid rendition of Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart"; and Mr. Amidon turned R. Kelly's "Relief" into a suitably crooked hootenanny singalong. [NY Times]
Doveman will be playing fall-winter dates (not announced yet), and unless they are solo shows, those will probably come after the Sam Amidon/Nico Muhly European tour (also with Ben Frost and Valgeir Sigurðsson) that runs October 24th to November 12th. The Eurotrip is less than a week after Muhly appears at the New Yorker Festival to discuss "Radical Opera" with Rufus Wainwright in a talk moderated by Alex Ross.
Martha & Rufus Wainwright recently played with their father at Highline Ballroom, and will both appear in an upcoming show at Carnegie Hall. Rufus also has another benefit show coming up in NYC soon.
The new Doveman track that National frontman Matt Berninger sings on, is streaming at Pitchfork.
Doveman album art above. Tracklist and some interesting videos, below...
by Andrew Frisicano
There were (more) strings at September 25th's inaugural show for the Archipelago music series, which happens at Galapagos one Friday a month through next May. Like the Undiscovered Islands fest in May, the shows will be featuring music that crosses boundaries between classical, indie, etc. (and like that fest, it's also being set up by the New Amsterdam label.)
The full schedule is below. It's full of treats (like a way-off show with music by Shara Worden aka My Brightest Diamond in April). The first show featured violist Nadia Sirota and percussion quartet Line C3. Coincidentally, Worden and Nadia will both be playing with the Dessner Bros.' BAM Next Wave show, The Long Count, at the end of October.
Both acts on the first night performed works by Nico Muhly (Line C3 did "Ta and Clap," written by Nico for them in 2004, and he joined Nadia for his piece "Keep in Touch," which features a vocal sample from Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons). Nadia & Nico actually discuss their collaborations in an episode of New Amsterdam's Podcast series.
Speaking of New Amsterdam, they also have a CMJ showcase coming up with Cantaloupe Records at (Le) Poisson Rouge on October 21st. Tickets are on sale. That will feature the music of David Lang and Julia Wolfe (Bang on a Can co-founders) and performances by NOW Ensemble, Darcy James Argue's Secret Society and more. Clips of the Lang-scored film (Untitled) will be screened between performances (the soundtrack of which will be out October 13th).
Full details on the Archipelago series below...
photos by Chris La Putt
The Swell Season's new album, Strict Joy, is out October 27th on Anti-. On Monday night, September 14th, the Irish & Czech duo (who are no longer a couple) performed at 92YTribeca in Manhattan. 92YTribeca is an intimate, and kind of swanky, downtown NYC venue that is much smaller than the places the Academy Award-winning band played last time they were here (Radio City and Summerstage). It's also probably much smaller than the ones they'll play next (nothing announced yet) (Beacon Theatre?). Bands often visit NYC for press purposes before an album, and I think that's related to why this show happened. Limited tickets were sold for $35 a pop. It was a packed house with tables taking up most of the room. People stood on the sides and in the back.
The setup on stage was spare. Glen Hansard had an old acoustic guitar which sometimes had "a mind of its own". Markéta Irglová sat at the piano when she wasn't standing up singing, either with Glen or by herself. They alternated playing solo and together. They flew in the night before, and hadn't performed in a while. Glen related that last fact to his forgetting to pack a few things, like his guitar tuner. To remedy the situation, he told us he downloaded iTune, an iPhone app that helps you tune your instrument. He even gave a demonstration of it after showing us how the Brian Eno iPhone app works (not sure if it was the old one or the brand new one). The iPhone segment was one of Glenn's many trademark (and entertaining) stories of the evening. His funny anecdotes offset the feelings of woe that dominate Swell Season songs.
Glen was as modest and down to earth as ever. He became frustrated when his guitar didn't do what he wanted. He thanked everyone for coming (especially Paddy, or is it Patty, in the front row who he thinks has been at every NYC show he's ever played), and for paying money to do so. He acknowledged that he expected the great success of last year to not always be there in the future. I imagine he is fine with the possibility that it won't always be Radio City and the Academy Awards, but I have no doubt The Swell Season can do it again (even if their demographic becomes less my friends, and more my mom's). Everything else aside, Glen (who is also in the band The Frames), can sing and play. And so can Marketa. It was especially noticeable since I'd just returned at 5am that morning from ATP NY, a festival in upstate NY where I saw a variety of bands, of varying musical abilities, perform.
The Swell Season setlist ranged from new songs to old songs to covers to something Glen wrote the night before. I don't know exactly what Glen's relationship is to Nico Muhly (Nico may have worked on the new album), but I know that Nico and Glen have a friend and collaborator Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman) in common. I didn't see Thomas there, but Nico (who performed with Thomas at the Miller Theatre just a few days earlier) was, and he played a solo piano song in the middle of Swell Season's set. It was kind of weird - maybe out of place. Glen introduced his friend Nico before leaving the stage (Marketa was already off). Nico then came up and played his song, and then Nico left and then the Swell Season came back. Regardless, special guests are always fun and I like Nico.
"Falling Slowly" (the big hit) was played early in the set, and my initial excitement turned into "I guess I'm sick of this song", but the Once songs they played at the end, "When Your Mind's Made Up" and "Lies", felt much better. Other highlights included an upbeat cover of Tim Buckley's :"Buzzin' Fly" mixed with a bit of Jeff Buckley's "Grace", anything Marketa did solo, and the closing number which was a cover of Daniel Johnston's "Devil Town". During that, Glen had the NYC crowd singing along to the chorus which he repeated a few times, partially A Capella and sometimes with accompanying funny faces, accents, and vampire gestures. He sang part of it with a German accent, and he ended with a pose he called a "Kanye moment". The crowd followed with a laugh and a standing ovation.
More pictures and tour dates (which were recently announced, but no NYC yet), and the NY show's setlist, below...
Wordless Music's four-night run at Columbia University's Miller Theatre (2960 Broadway at 116th Street) starts tonight (9/9) with a one-off show from the "802 Tour," a collaboration between Nico Muhly, Sam Amidon and Doveman (Thomas Bartlett).
That's followed by Do Make Say Think and Charles Spearin's "The Happiness Project" on September 10th (the same lineup that will tour together in November), Tim Hecker, Grouper and Julianna Barwick on September 11th (Grouper is also playing ATP NY), and the final night with Dan Bejar (Destroyer), Loscil and JACK Quartet on Saturday, September 12th. Tickets are still on sale for all events.
We also have two pairs of tickets to give away to each show. Full details are below.
Do Make Say Think's new album, Other Truths, will be released on October 20th via Constellation Records.
More on the "802 Tour" show with video, below...
Bon Iver @ Sasquatch Fest (more by Chris Graham)
Tickets are now on sale for all of Merkin Hall's upcoming 2009/10 concerts. Those shows include the NY Guitar Festival's Silent Films/Live Guitars series (previously mentioned here), which features David Bromberg and Marc Ribot playing alongside Charlie Chaplin films on January 14th, Bon Iver's Justin Vernon (Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush) with Steve Kimock (Buster Keaton's Cops) on January 21st, and more. The full lineup, with details, is below.
The venue is also hosting the New Sounds series, which includes performances by ETHEL and the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Details on those are below. Check out a video of the BoaC All-Stars rehearsing a Steve Reich piece from a few years back below too. You'll notice Bryce Dessner of the National is in the ensemble in that video. He's currently working on his own new piece with brother Aaron and Matthew Ritchie to debut at BAM this fall.
Also, as part of their trio of "Contemporary Contexts" concerts, Merkin Hall will be bringing Signal, who will premiere a new work from Nico Muhly and UK composer Harrison Birtwistle, in May.
The full schedule is below...
Doveman @ LPR in June (more by Fresh Bread)
Miller Theatre joins forces with the Wordless Music series to present a week of specially curated concerts highlighting the best of each organization's aesthetic and mission. For five nights, indie-rock and electronic-music performers share the stage with artists from the classical- and new-music world, for a week of unorthodox and unconventional musical meetings.Of those five nights, four lineups at Columbia University's Miller Theatre (2960 Broadway at 116th Street) have been confirmed. Those will take place as follows...
Wednesday, September 9, 2009Ticket information HERE.
The 802 Tour:
Nico Muhly + Sam Amidon + Doveman
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Do Make Say Think
Charles Spearin's "The Happiness Project"
Friday, September 11, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Dan Bejar (Destroyer)
Those concerts are an addition to Wordless's upcoming schedule, which currently includes the Alarm Will Sound show tonight (July 22nd) at LPR, the Liquid Liquid & Rhys Chatham "200 Electric Guitars" performance on August 8th at Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center, and the Warp20 NYC series in early September.
The original "802 Tour" (the Doveman date above) took place in 2008. No word on whether they are actually going on tour again, or if this is just a one-off date with the same name.
Do Make Say Think and The Happiness Project also have a bunch of other tour dates scheduled, including two other NYC shows. Grouper is also playing ATP NY. Destroyer is going on a very short tour at the end of July that brings Dan Bejar to Bowery Ballroom on the 30th. All dates and a video from Doveman's June 18th show at LPR, below...
photos by Fresh Bread
"When describing the show Sam Amidon, Doveman and members of The National put on at Le Poisson Rouge there is no way that I can be sarcastic or snarky. It was too amazing, beautiful, genuine, and polished for me to even pretend to funnily write about it. Basically, that music was the equivalent to being in love, drinking iced tea on a wooden porch on a perfect summer day, and moving away from home for the first time, all rolled into one. I'm still walking around with a goofy smile on my face, especially in lieu of sitting literally two seats over from the lead singer of The National..." [Gangster Legs]Sam Amidon opened and played in Doveman at the Thursday night show. Add Thomas Bartlett (Doveman himself), two Dessners, Bryan Devendorf, Nico Muhly, Dawn Landes, and Oren Bloedow, and you had as many as eight people playing as Doveman at once. The show was in the round, so the audience was sitting all around the band. The setlist, which you can see below, included old songs, new songs, and covers including a show-closing cover of Tom Petty's "Free Fallin".
Grab a new Doveman track HERE. More pictures below...
by Andrew Frisicano
The Walkmen @ Sasquatch 2009 (more by Chris Graham)
It Came From Brooklyn inaugurates a new series of live music concerts in the [Guggenheim] rotunda. The program will showcase ten bands over the course of five Friday evenings commencing mid-August, with each night featuring a music set by two bands, interspersed with a short reading by a Brooklyn-based writer or actor. The series, taking place within the rotunda, will cast a spotlight on Brooklyn's musical renaissance by providing a platform for a new crop of musicians. The line-up includes bands such as The Walkmen and High Places.In fact, High Places and The Walkmen will play the same It Came From Brooklyn show, its inaugural night on Friday, August 14th. The Gugg website
UPDATE: We are told Grizzly Bear is not confirmed for this. They have been removed from the museum's website....
Those shows will be the second scheduled NYC gigs for both Grizzly Bear and The Walkmen (and only upcoming U.S. show currently for High Places). The Walkmen play a free show at the Central Park Summerstage with Dinosaur Jr. on Sunday, August 16th. Grizzly Bear will also play a free show, at the Williamsburg Waterfront with Beach House on Sunday, August 30th.
The museum's Frank Lloyd Wright-designed rotunda should add some interesting reverb effects to Grizzly Bear's harmony-heavy tunes. Especially good news if you missed the last three Grizzly Bear NYC shows, when they played May 28th and 29th at Town Hall and May 31st at MHOW.
Grizzly Bear collaborator Nico Muhly, who premiered a "scent opera" at the Gugg on May 31st and Jun 1st, recently defended the band's Town Hall show (at which he played keys) against the not-so-nice Times review...
Times: But wow, these songs are precious, and they occasionally came spangled with extras that made them even more so. The chorus was one of those elements, sorry to say.The full nearly-point-by-point analysis is up at his blog. David Byrne also recently took on a NY Times review on his blog.
Nico: Oh snap! Apology accepted. Now, I have major objections to the word "precious." It tends to be borderline homophobic in its coded usage, first of all, but second of all, it's a derogatory adjective with no alternative. It's reviewspeak. What I mean is: if you say, "that's ugly" somebody else can say, "no, it's beautiful." If you say, "it's over-stuffed" somebody can say, "really, I thought it was pretty thin." So the problem with a word like precious is that the scale of adjectives with "precious" on it belongs solely to the reviewer and is just a way of being mean. Case in point: this whole nonsense about Sufjan Stevens's's BQE Thing. Words like fey, twee, and precious have become these little nuggets of coded disdain, but they are really just useless self-congratulatory gestures on the part of the reviewer. What is the opposite of twee? Muscular? It all reminds me of the insane misogynist critiques of Jane Austen's novels. I guess the place for a word like that would be in a larger piece about the music world -- there was an enormous brouhaha in Iceland about the so-called Krútt scene. Krútt is probably the closest approximation in Icelandic of "precious" -- it refers to Múm, kind of Sigur Rós, and a lot of imitators: it denotes little bells, reversed glockenspiels, fairytale vocals, cutely-outfitted brass bands. Now, all of that is just a description and not derogatory; my iPod overflows with this shit. Anyway, to go to a concert of that kind of music and be like, "it's precious," all you're doing is going to a Chinese restaurant and being like, "wow, they were serving mad chinese food up in there!"
All Walkmen, High Places and Grizzly Bear tour dates below...
"With a vital role on band sensation Grizzly Bear's new CD Veckatimest and an appearance this Thursday, May 28th, backing up the band at Town Hall, the Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus embarks on a six-week run of performances spanning music as diverse as indie rock and Mahler's 8th. That's business as usual for the BYC, which has sung with Alicia Keys for a Sesame Street special, backed Elton John at his birthday concert at Madison Square Garden, premiered Philip Glass's Symphony No. 5 with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and commissioned a body of work by musicians including Nico Muhly and Fred Hersch. The BYC is an astonishingly active group of kids that performs on the highest levels of the New York music scene, whether it be symphonic, rock, hip-hop, gospel, avant-garde classical, jazz..." [press release]Unfortunately it looks like the Chorus will only be at one of Grizzly Bear's three NYC shows. All BYC dates below...
by Andrew Frisicano
Steve Reich clapping
Tonight (5/22) the Undiscovered Islands/New Amsterdam Records series at Galapagos continues with two sets: Sarah Kirkland Snider's Penelope performed by Signal, guitarist Steven Mackey and singer Rachel Calloway (conducted by Brad Lubman), and an opening performance by So Percussion. Tickets are still on sale.
So Percussion, who played with Dan Deacon at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple in December, was to premiere a new Deacon piece, but that debut has been postponed. Instead, Jason Treuting from So Percussion, writes...
we are playing some new music that we've been working on as meditations on the concept of city. the music has been focusing on the task oriented nature of a city and the parallel task-oriented nature of playing music. loops are made out of tasks and we have taken to transforming mundane objects into musical instruments like we haven't before. turning on lamps, writing on paper, pouring gravel, putting down ordinary objects in rhythm, etc. a few new videos by my sister jenise treuting will be busted out as well.The other ensemble on that bill, Signal, has several other gigs coming up. They're performing Michael Gordon's Trance, for a second time, at the Bang on a Can Marathon on May 31st.
Signal just did the music of Philip Glass at (Le) Poisson Rouge on May 17th. They'll return to the venue on Friday, June 22nd for a concert and party to celebrate Steve Reich's 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Music for Double Sextet. Reich's original Sextet (1984) will be performed at that show, presented by Wordless Music, as well. Tickets are on sale.
That gig is your only way to check out the piece (except for streaming excerpts), as there's currently no way to buy a recording of it. Reich discussed this in a recent interview...
Newsweek: I missed the premiere of "Double Sextet" last year, and when I heard it had won, I found myself upset that there was no way to buy the piece yet.Commenters on Nico Muhly's post about the situation rightly point out that Double Sextet should be released ASAP to capitalize on the Pulitzer publicity. The 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Music, won by Bang on a Can cofounder David Lang for his the little match girl passion (streaming here), is just seeing a CD release, with four other Lang works, on June 9th via Harmonia Mundi.
Reich: Yeah, that's just part of the recording business. When you have a 24-minute piece, the official recording hinges on finishing and recording two other pieces to go with it [on a CD]. I'm working on two other pieces right now, and have to finish writing the second one, actually. I've got a piece for all rock-and-roll people already completed, and it's going to premiere later this year. [Nico Muhly's blog]
Speaking of Reich and Bang on a Can, the composer will perform his own "Clapping Music" at the Bang on a Can Big Benefit Bash taking place Wednesday, June 3rd at (Le) Poisson Rouge. Other special guests include Meredith Monk, David Cossin, Wu Man, Maya Beiser, Talujon and Doug Aitken. Tickets will run you a $400 donation to the non-profit...
...which is why the regular-people-friendly festival is hosting a "Bang on a Can't Afford the Other Benefit" show at LPR later that same night (6/3) with So Percussion, Gutbucket, Newspeak and NOW Ensemble. Tickets for that are a more reasonable $20.
Full info on BoaC's Asphalt Orchestra, and its Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival plans, below...
by Andrew Frisicano
Darcy James Argue
New Amsterdam Records is putting on Undiscovered Islands, a month-long exhibition of work by label artists and friends at Brooklyn's Galapagos Art Space (16 Main St in DUMBO). The series' four Friday shows start May 8th. Tickets are on sale now.
The lineups include two record release shows: one for Darcy James Argue's Secret Society's Infernal Machines on Friday, May 8th; and another on May 15th for Nadia Sirota's first things first. Sirota will be appearing with the Chiara Quartet, itsnotyouitsme, Clarice Jensen, Nico Muhly and others.
Friday, May 22nd's show will feature ensemble Signal premiering Sarah Kirkland Snider's Penelope with Brad Lubman, Steven Mackey and Rachel Calloway, and So Percussion playing new works.
The final Undiscovered Islands of the month will feature NOW Ensemble and Abigail Fischer premiering Missy Mazzoli and Stephen Taylor's "Song from the Uproar" followed by a preview premiere performance of William Brittelle's Television Landscape on Friday, May 29th. New work Television Landscape is described in the release as "a fully-notated concept album that brings together the epic tradition of Pet Sounds, Purple Rain, and OK Computer with Brittelle's idiosyncratic... compositional style."