Entries tagged with: Nosaj Thing
photo: Michael Gira in Chicago last month (more by James Richards IV)
The upcoming Big Ears Festival happening March 27-29 in Knoxville, TN, has been expanded once again. Like in past years, the festival will include a film portion, and a selection of that has been curated by filmmaker/musician Jim Jarmusch and Michael Gira, whose respective bands SQURL and Swans were already on the lineup. Like they just did In NYC, Jarmusch's band SQURL will perform scores to Man Ray's silent films. Here's more:
SQÜRL, film director Jim Jarmusch's band with drummer Carter Logan, will perform music that they wrote for several silent films from the 1930s by the legendary surrealist Man Ray. This project was premiered in late February in New York as part of WNYC's Silent Films, Live Scores program. SQÜRL, joined by lute virtuoso Jozef Van Wissem, also performed the score for Jarmusch's most recent film, Only Lovers Left Alive.There will be a Bill Morrison retrospective too, during which jazz guitarist Bill Frisell's quartet performing Frisell's live score to Morrison's The Great Flood (like he did at MoMA last year).
The occult electronic duo Demdike Stare will perform their re-scoring of 1922 silent Swedish/Danish documentary / horror classic, HÄXAN, Witchcraft Through the Ages. Technically filmed as a documentary about how superstition and the misunderstanding of disease and mental illness could lead to witch hunts, its dramatized sequences push it into the realm of horror films. It was originally banned in the United States.
Rounding out the Big Ears film programs for 2015, indie director Jim Jarmusch and Swans founder and leader Michael Gira have collaborated with the Criterion Film Collection in curating a program of select films, which will be screened on Sunday at Regal Entertainment Group's downtown Riviera Cineplex. Jarmusch's program is "Three in Black and White," an international triptych featuring Satayajit Ray's The Music Room, Aki Kaurismäki's La Vie de Bohéme, and Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg. Gira has selected a single film: the cult classic Eraserhead, David Lynch's groundbreaking feature film debut.
These additions join Swans, tUnE-yArDs, Silver Apples, Perfume Genius, Grouper, Ben Frost and more. Festival passes are still available.
Updated lineup below...
The lineup has been expanded for the 2015 Big Ears Festival, happening March 27-29 in Knoxville, TN. New additions include psych pioneers Silver Apples, former Battles frontman Tyondai Braxton (performing HIVE), Syrian pop singer Omar Souleyman, folk singer Ryley Walker, guitar wiz William Tyler, modern classical collective Bing & Ruth, electronic/ambient musician Loscil, cabaret singer Little Annie, and Chinese composer Wu Man.
They join previously announced artists such as Laurie Anderson, tUnE-yArDs, Swans, Perfume Genius, Grouper, Sam Amidon, Max Richter, Ben Frost and more. Tickets are still available.
Updated lineup below...
Slingshot Festival is returning to Athens, GA from March 26-28, and this year's lineup includes a DJ set from LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy, Jamie xx, Nosaj Thing, Clark, Saint Pepsi, Reptar, Holly Herndon, Glenn Kotche, Prince Rama, Omar Souleyman, Juana Molina, Awesome Tapes From Africa, a DJ set from Washed Out, and more TBA.
There will also be a comedy night headlined by Kurt Braunohler, as well as a Japan Nite with Peelander-Z, TsuShiMaMire, QUORIUM, the fin., BO-PEEP and Zarigani$. Tickets go on sale today (1/22) at 9 AM EST.
As discussed, two electronic masterminds Clark and Nosaj Thing are going on a tour together, including a NYC show happening April 4 at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Since we last spoke, the pair have expanded their tour, adding a second NYC date happening a day earlier at Bowery Ballroom (4/3). Tickets for the MHOW show are still available, and tickets (same link) for Bowery should be on sale soon.
Updated dates are listed, with Clark's recent video for "Beacon," below...
by Andrew Sacher
Electronic wizard Clark followed last year's Feast / Beast with an excellent self-titled record earlier this year on Warp. Not long ago he put out the video for the sprawling IDM of single "Winter Linn" (dir. Christopher Hewitt) and more recently he released a 34-minute Brian Eno mix featuring material from the four '90s albums Eno recently reissued on All Saints Records. Check out the video and the Eno mix below.
Clark also has plans to tour with another knob-turning master, Nosaj Thing, in 2015 surrounding both artists' sets at Big Ears Festival. All dates for that tour
have not been announced yet, but a few have popped up including NYC on April 4 at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Tickets for that show go on sale at noon on Friday (12/12) with an AmEx presale starting at noon today (12/10).
UPDATE: The full tour is now announced and a new video for "Beacon" from Clark's LP (drawn and animated by Matti Gajek) is out now too. Watch that, with the list of dates, below...
Big Ears Festival will return to various Knoxville, TN venues in 2015 from March 27-29, and the initial lineup was just announced. Kronos Quartet will be the artists in residence for the weekend and perform at several concerts. Others performing include Laurie Anderson, tUnE-yArDs, Swans, Perfume Genius, Grouper, Sam Amidon, Max Richter, Ben Frost, Bryce Dessner, Bill Frisell, Jamie xx, Clark, Demdike Stare, SQURL, A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Nosaj Thing, Steve Gunn, Nels Cline, Amen Dunes, Jozef Van Wissem, Holly Herndon, Terry Riley & Ryan Riley, Harold Budd & Keith Lowe, The Bad Plus, Rhiannon Giddens, Tanya Tagaq and Hildur Guonadottir. Stay tuned for more lineup additions.
The shows will take place at the Tennessee and Bijou Theatres, the intimate Square Room, the Knoxville Museum of Art and more. Weekend passes go on sale Friday (11/14) at noon EST. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Knoxville music and arts education programs Joy of Music School and Community School of the Arts.
by Andrew Sacher
There's never a lack of good electronic shows coming up in NYC. Here's a few highlights...
To start, here's some at new-ish Williamsburg dance club Verboten. Hip hop producer Nosaj Thing teams up with Dutch dubstepper Martyn, NY's multi-genre Sebastian Tamayo, and San Francisco house producer Matrixxman for a show at Verboten tonight (6/6). Tickets are available. Martyn is releasing a new album, The Air Between Words, on his new label home of Ninja Tune (he was previously on Brainfeeder) on June 16. The album features his Four Tet collaboration and a collab with former Hype Williams singer (Inga) Copeland, "Love of Pleasure," which you can stream below. That album was prefaced with the Forgiveness EP which came out this week, and Martyn also released a Live at BBC video this week which you can watch below. Martyn and Matrixxman join forces in NYC again this summer for Warm Up.
Pop-house revivalist Moon Boots returns to Verboten on June 12 with his French Express labelmate Perseus and Plastic Plates. He just dropped another typically great single, "Whatever You Need," which you can stream below. Tickets for the show are on sale.
UK house producer/remixer Maya Jane Coles, who recently remixed Booka Shade's "Love Drug" (ft. ex-Azari & III member Fritz Helder), plays with George Fitzgerald and Alex Arnout at Verboten on June 20 (tickets). George also plays the same Warm Up as Martyn and Matrixxman.
DFA's The Juan Maclean hits Verboten on June 26. No other acts billed at the moment, but tickets are on sale.
Moving on to another Williamsburg dance club, Output, where UK hip hop/house producer Star Slinger plays on June 19. You can grab tix.
FIXED also have a couple parties at Output coming up, including one Sunday (6/8) on the venue's roof with a DJ set from NYC duo Blondes (tickets), and another one with veteran DJ/M83 collaborator Ewan Pearson on June 12 (tickets).
London house producer Medlar, who broke through in 2011 with his "Terrell" single, makes his US debut at another FIXED party at Cameo on July 18. Tickets for that one are on sale. Watch the video for "Terrell" below.
In other news, the Night Slugs label celebrates its 6th birthday on June 27 at 88 Palace with many of the usual suspects, Bok Bok, L-Vis 1990, Girl Unit, Mike Dunn and RP Boo (who has an Adult Swim single coming soon). Tickets for that one are on sale now.
Another good show happens at that venue the next night (6/28) with Pearson Sound, Vissacoor, Teengirl Fantasy, Rrose, Sinjin Hawke and Aquarian (tickets).
Speaking of electronic label anniversaries, UNO throws their UNOversary this year on June 14 at Cameo, which doubles as a Northside showcase. CFCF, Aquarian, Gobby, Kuhrye-oo and Feral are all on the bill. Tickets are on sale and you can also try getting in with your Northside badge.
Veteran Philly DJ King Britt is releasing his first full length as his Fhloston Paradigm alias, The Phoenix, on June 9 via Hyperdub (stream some very promising clips). He'll be in NYC to celebrate that release on July 7 at Cielo where he'll play a special DJ set and a live sci-fi set. Free admission and complimentary vodka cocktails before 11 PM with eflyer, $12 with eflyer after 11 PM, and $20 without eflyer.
And don't forget tonight you can also catch James Blake DJing Output, which is sold out but a few tickets will be available at the door.
Of course those are just a few of the upcoming electronic shows in NYC. What did we miss? All mentioned streams and videos below...
It's looking like official Festival Lineup Announcement Day with Shaky Knees Fest, Hangout Fest, and Governors Ball giving us their rosters (not to mention Firefly and Coachella in the past week), and now here's another one: Georgia's CounterPoint Festival. It goes down from April 25-27 in Kingston Downs and features Outkast, Janelle Monae, Schoolboy Q, Run the Jewels, Chance the Rapper, Thundercat, Rustie, Sleigh Bells, Matt & Kim, Major Lazer, XXYYXX, J. Cole, Tourist, A-Trak, Flosstradamus, Phantogram, Tycho, YACHT and more.
Tickets are on sale now. Full lineup and flyer below...
Nosaj Thing in Chicago earlier this month (more by Brigid Gallagher)
Three excellent electronic musicians, Prefuse 73, Nosaj Thing, and FaltyDL, are set to head out on a short North American tour this winter. That tour hits NYC on January 30 at Output for the venue's weekly INPUT party. Tickets for that show are available here and here. All dates are listed below.
FaltyDL is not currently listed on Output's site for his hometown stop on the tour, but the flyer (pictured below) appears to imply that all three artists on every date. Meanwhile, FaltyDL does play NYC TONIGHT (11/22) at Music Hall of Williamsburg opening for Jose James. Tickets for tonight's show are still available.
All Prefuse 73/Nosaj Thing/FaltyDL dates are listed, along with the tour flyer and streams from all three artists, below...
James Blake at Treasure Island 2013 (more by Autumn Andel)
James Blake recently resumed his North American tour, which began on the west coast in October, hitting Treasure Island and other places, but was postponed for five dates so James could perform at the Mercury Prize ceremony back in his homeland of the UK. In case you didn't hear, James' album Overgrown won the prize. That win has seen an increase in sales for Overgrown -- yesterday (11/4) FACT reported that his Amazon sales have gone up over 2500%. Check out a video of James being interviewed after his win, below.
The tour hit Philly last night (11/4), comes to Boston tonight (11/5), and then James will return to NYC for two nights at Terminal 5 on Wednesday (11/6) and Thursday (11/7). Tickets for both T5 shows are still available, and we're giving away a pair to each night. Updated dates are listed, along with contest details below.
Since we last spoke, LA producer Nosaj Thing was added to the tour, including both NYC shows. Nosaj Thing released his newest album, Home earlier this year, and like James Blake, he collaborated with Chance the Rapper.
Speaking of James Blake collaborating with rappers, after being rumored to appear on Drake's Nothing Was the Same (which he didn't), he recently offered a remix of "Come Thru" from that album. You can stream that, along with the list of tour dates, contest details, and a couple videos, below...
LA Fest FYF Fest is celebrating 10 years this year, and will take over Los Angeles State Historic Park on August 24 & 25. Check out the massive lineup in the poster above, and in alphabetical order below...
Nosaj Thing at MHOW in 2010 (more by Chris Doss)
LA glitch hop producer Nosaj Thing is set to release his new album, Home, on January 22 via Innovative Leisure. The album will feature guest vocals from Toro y Moi on the song "Try" and Blonde Redhead's Kazu Makino, who sings on the song, "Eclipse/Blue," the latter of which you can watch the video for below, and the former of which you can stream. You can also stream another album cut, "Snap," a teaser for a third track, "Light 3," and check out the cover art and full tracklist below.
Nosaj Thing doesn't have a tour in the works to support the album just yet, but he'll be in NYC TONIGHT (1/18) at Webster Hall for a Girls & Boys party with "guests," and GIrls & Boys regulars Alex English and rekLES. Tickets for tonight's show are available.
Video, song stream, cover art and tracklist below...
Blonde Redhead at FFF Fest 2011 (more by Fred Pessaro // BBG)
Blonde Redhead have been quiet for most of 2012 (perhaps spent writing songs for their next album) but will play NYC on New Year's Eve at Irving Plaza with openers Beach Fossils (whose new album features vocals from BR's Kazu Makino). Tickets are still available but if you'd like to go for free, we're giving away a pair of tickets. Details on how to enter are below.
For a glimpse at what Blonde Redhead did do this year, the band gave us a Top 10 of 2012 list that includes, travel, food, parties, memories, live shows... and albums too (Dirty Projectors made their favorite). Check out their list below.
Ralf, who also showed up as the surprise special guest on Sunday at PS1, hasn't tweeted yet today, but if and when he does, it will probably say "Tonight, Tour de France." And when that's over, so is the entire 8-night MoMA run, but then there's an afterparty. Flyer below...
AraabMuzik at Moogfest in October (more by Diana Wong)
When Altered Zones announced last month that they would no longer be operating, editors Ric Leichtung and Emilie Friedlander also announced a new project, AdHoc.fm, which will be "a 100% independent, daily music and visual culture publication" and is "coming in 2012."
Ad Hoc are throwing a New Year's Eve party at 285 Kent (12/31) with sets by AraabMuzik, Balam Acab, Light Asylum, Laurel Halo, Run DMT, a special guest, and Weird Magic DJs. Tickets for the show are on sale now. More details and dates are below.
Laurel Halo will also be DJing in NYC on New Year's Eve at Zebulon with DJ Hiro Kone and a band TBA. They'll be spinning "Italo Disco, House, Soul, Techno, Postpunk; whatever makes you move."
Another similar electronic-filled NYE option is the Nosaj Thing show at Glasslands (12/31). When we first discussed the show, no openers had been announced yet. We now know that the bill also includes El Topo (aka Dave Harrington of Nicolas Jaar's Darkside project), Archie Pelago, and DJIlirjana (Pop Manifesto/Typical Girls). Tickets are still available.
Speaking of AraabMuzik, he released the deluxe edition to his album Electronic Dream last week. The album features six new tracks, including the Deadmau5-sampling "I Remember," which you can stream below. We recently spoke to Gang Gang Dance engineer Sean Maffucci who is in New Moods, and he said "I don't think I've heard a record like this before. It seems to break every production rule and yet sounds so sweet and pleasing to the ears."
That stream, NYE show details and more AraabMuzik dates, below...
Nosaj Thing at Music Hall of Williamsburg (more by Chris Doss)
Celebrate New Year's Eve with Nosaj Thing, who will bless Glasslands on 12/31 as part of a PopGun party that will feature a vodka open bar (for a limited time) and a champagne toast at midnight. Tickets are on sale, and so far no support has been announced.
The show is one of only two dates on the calendar for Nosaj Thing (the other being at Rotture in Portland, Oregon on 11/19), as he is currently in the midst of writing material for his new album. Details are still forthcoming.
The Creators Project will return to New York from October 15 - October 16 by transforming the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn into a colossal two-day arts and technology festival.Except for Karen O at St Ann's, it's all free with RSVP.
After spending the year traveling the world, VICE and Intel's The Creators Project lands back in New York with a marquee lineup of live performances and original Studio works by groundbreaking artists, musicians, designers and filmmakers.
This year's festival will take to the streets of DUMBO, Brooklyn, erecting 30-foot sculptures, showcasing works from over thirty leading international artists, and featuring dozens of live music performances. The event will also include the world premiere of Karen O's psycho-opera, Stop The Virgens, along with film screenings and panels.
Original artworks include Life on Mars Revisited, an immersive short film of David Bowie's classic space-rock anthem from legendary music photographer Mick Rock and filmmaker Barney Clay; 'A Physical Manifestation of Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space,' a cathedral-like physical manifestation of the song created by Spiritualized's J. Spaceman and acclaimed film director Jonathan Glazer; and Origin, a striking thirty by thirty foot audiovisual installation by UVA and composer Scanner, which will be the largest responsive work ever created by the UK based artists.
The festival runs:
Lineup, venue list, etc, below...
photos by Nathanael Turner
Punk rock long ago transcended class, age, gender and ethnicity to become a signifier not necessarily of outward rebellion but of the symbolic, crazy-on-the-inside variety. That sense of internal defiance continues to permeate the entire underground and has become a secret handshake that united not only the artists who made traditional-ish punk rock over the course of 10 hours of the FYF -- the Descendents, No Age, Off! among them -- but from a wildly divergent cast of in-yer-face artists including beat makers Nosaj Thing and Dan Deacon, the deeply sensual, self-referential house music of New York's Chromatics and Glass Candy, and the catchy, arena-aspirant bands like Broken Social Scene.You saw the Future Islands shots. Here are some more of a bunch of the acts that played FYF Fest in LA on Saturday (9/3). No Dead Milkmen, Kid Dynamite or Guided By Voices, but a bunch of other stuff below...
"It's a punk rock festival. That means we're going to play ... in the wrong key," declared Guided by Voices singer Robert Pollard during his band's sturdy, hook-infused rock set featuring acrobatic kicks, monster choruses and a sexy girl delivering between-song lighted cigarettes to guitarist Mitch Mitchell.
But Pollard missed the point. As anyone who roamed downtown's Los Angeles State Historic Park on Saturday could see, punk no longer means inept, either on a musical or festival level. It means being inspired and maybe a little irrational, like festival founders Sean Carlson, Phil Hoelting and Keith Morris. It means realizing strengths and weaknesses. It means pushing at the edges like L.A.-based instrumental Nosaj Thing, who fused the deep, penetrating bass of dubstep with touches of skewed Aphex Twin breakbeat rhythms to create architecturally sophisticated sound structures as solid as they were abrasive. Or it means setting up gear in the crowd like electronic/serialist/rhythmatist Deacon to make sounds so driving and strobing that the level of crowd surfing reached Nirvana-like proportions. [LA Times]
DOWNLOAD: Mister Heavenly - "Pineapple Girl" (MP3)
Descendents at FFFFest (more by Tim Griffin)
Much like last year, FYF Fest 2011 is poppin' off with some incredible bands, many of whom recently reunited. This year the LA fest will host a coveted Descendents appearance, a Death From Above 1979 show, Guided By Voices, another Kid Dynamite reunion, The Dead Milkmen, Explosions in the Sky, the return of The Weakerthans and many, many notable others. Full lineup is below. The show goes down at 1st and Main in downtown Los Angeles on September 3rd. Tickets are on sale.
For Kid Dynamite, which features members of Lifetime, Paint it Black and None More Black, the reunion is their first since re-emerging for This is Hardcore last year with Ink & Dagger. The band called it quits in 2000 and reunited in 2005 at CBGB and some other times too. I hope they schedule another NYC show, but it's just LA for now.
This is Hardcore THIS YEAR features an appearance from Ressurection, which also featured Dan Yemin on guitar. Tickets for This is Hardcore 2011, taking place in Philly's Starlight Ballroom, is mostly sold-out, with tickets for the Sunday show still available.
The Descendents appearance at FYFest is one of several dates scheduled for the reunited band, NYC's Roseland, Chicago Riot Fest, and Philly's Riot Fest included. Tickets are still available for the 9/23 Roseland show.
Mister Heavenly will hit the road for a string of dates on the West Coast leading up to FYF Fest. Check out their full tour schedule below, and look for their new LP Out of Love on 8/16 via Sub Pop. Check out "Pineapple Girl" from that record above.
The Death From Above 1979 appearance is one of several slated for the band in the coming months, including a 7/22 appearance at Williamsburg Waterfront. Tickets are still available OR, you can try your hand by winning a pair at our Facebook. The full set of DFA1979 dates are below.
The Weakerthans have a few other dates slated for Europe and Canada in the coming months. Hopefully they add more US dates too. All dates for now are listed below.
A few bands on the FYFest lineup (namely, Cults, Off!, and No Age) will also appear in NYC at the House of Vans this summer, and for FREE. The FYF-presented House of Vans series of shows starts this Thursday (6/30). You just have to RSVP to get in (and maybe get there early).
All Weakerthans, DFA1979, and Mister Heavenly dates, some video, and the full FYF Fest lineup is below.
photos by Chris Doss
Jason Chung is Nosaj Thing (get it? Jason -> Nosaj), and the LA artist/beat-killer played Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday 12/3 with Mary Anne Hobbs, Toro Y Moi, and Dirty South Joe. The very visual show was also marked with an acrobatic performance (literally, not just on the MPC/drum pads) by Brooklyn aerialist Anya Sapozhnikova to accompany the glitchy thump.
More pictures and an 18+ minute video from the show, along with a revealing documentary on Nosaj Thing produced during a recent trip to Brazil, below...
"What a mesmerizing thing it was to watch this guy [Nosaj Thing] alone on stage, his own shadow looming against the projection screen behind him, turning knobs and slapping out drum hits while the crowd (in a singular head-nod) just stood there in shock. The way a DJ "performs" on his decks, Nosaj Thing's feet were in a constant two-step dance while his arms and hands flailed when the music became bigger or started a transition. After 45 minutes, Nosaj left the stage and the crowd slack-jawed while Warren G.'s "Regulate" played during the encore's interim. Nosaj Thing's roughly one hour set was a perfect union of lights, sounds and total crowd control." [Reverb]Toro y Moi and Nosaj Thing spent some time on the road together in November, but that tour never hit NYC. They make up for it with a post-tour reunion which goes down at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn tonight (12/3) (and if you're confused about the venue it's because this show was originally scheduled at Good Units). Mary Ann Hobbs and Dirty South Joe are also on the show which LA's Nosaj Thing is advertising as the "New York Debut of Visual Show", but note: Toro Y Moi is only DJing at this show. Flyer and all dates below...
photos by Bao Nguyen
"They started their set behind a huge white curtain glorified with epic lighting that showed all three members as huge silhouettes dramatically playing "Intro". They played all of the songs on their debut album, including a cover of a Kyla song called "Do You Mind". Going into the show I was worried about how the xx would put the songs together live while keeping the crowd involved and interested. They had no problem. They gave songs like Basic Space and Night Time a new life live, engaging the crowd with extra bass and dance inspired electronics. Romy Croft and Oliver Sim's voices were top notch live delivering all of their lyrics with the same passionate consignment that made their debut so excellent." [We All Want Some]The above review is from the xx/jj/Nosaj Thing show that happened Wednesday, March 31st at Webster Hall. Those three bands (who played in the same lineup at Big Ears) continue on tour for the next few weeks.
The xx didn't play a show on Tuesday night (that we know of... maybe they played an Auto Show party like She & Him did for Audi last night), but jj used her off night to headline Knitting Factory and Nosaj Thing opened for Kode9 and Flying Lotus at Le Poisson Rouge on that evening (which was the show right after Tanlines and Micachu and the Shapes). Reviews of jj's live show haven't been very positive which used to be the same problem The xx had, but now more and more people are starting to say really nice things about the headliner's live show.
After this tour, the xx team up with Hot Chip for shows that include an April 22nd sold out gig at Terminal 5.
Jamie xx (who's working on a remix of Gil Scott-Heron's I'm New Here) DJed after their Webster Hall show at Santos as part of Fixed. Check out his remix of Jack Penate's "Pull My Heart Away" at WNYC. Jamie didn't remix it, but it should be noted that The Notorious xx, a mashup of Notorious B.I.G. and the xx, has been making rounds online.
More pictures and set list from Webster Hall are below...
by Andrew Frisicano
Sam Amidon, accompanied by Thomas Bartlett, ushered in the first show of the 2010 Big Ears Festival at the Knoxville Museum of Art on Friday (3/26) with "Wild Bill Jones," his own version of the Appalachian folk song, punctuated with a piercing scream half-way through. "These are all folk songs, some from around here," said Sam, which was the right thing to say at the KMA, an institution whose collection and staff brims with East Tennessee pride. After a welcome by festival organizer Ashley Capps (whose AC Entertainment also organizes Bonnaroo) and co-curator Bryce Dessner, Calder Quartet and violinist Iva Bittova led the audience through the folk-inspired world of Bartok, Janacek and guitarist/composer Fred Frith.
A little after 7pm at the gorgeous Bijou Theatre (est. 1909), Terry Riley and his quartet - consisting of his son Gyan on classical guitar, Tracy Silverman on electric violin and Ches Smith on drums and marimba - played a series of extended ragas and genre-morphing songs. By midnight, an ecstatic crowd of all ages filled the hall for the xx. Just a few hours before, University of Tennessee basketball advanced to the NCAA Elite 8, and the partly collegiate crowd carried the celebratory mood to the gig. Some danced in front of their seats or in the aisles, and cheered in anticipation - in one opera box, an exhibitionist couple shared a drunken embrace dangerously close to the railing. Clandestine cigarettes were smoked as the xx performed their moody rock alongside minutely choreographed stage lights.
The earlier jj were even more laid back than the xx, with a sole singer, Elin Kastlander, standing before video projections that included an Italian soccer game, romps on the beach by Elin and co-member Joakim Benon, and whales and other nature scenes. We also got to see Elin roll a big blunt on screen, which might speak to her onstage ambivalence and generally lackluster approach. She did pick up an acoustic guitar once, as did her blond gentleman collaborator, Joakim, for a few numbers. With the music on autopilot, everything else - from the canned "native" beats to the narcissistic video - seemed to follow suit.
The first act had much better luck: Nosaj Thing's post-apocalyptic electronica, riddled with blippy bullets and ghostly echoes, destroyed the darkened theater. The xx gig was one of of the fest's sold out gigs (the others are currently Vampire Weekend and Joanna Newsom) but those with all-access Inner Ear passes ($250 now, but cheaper if you bought earlier) had no trouble finding front-row first-come, first-served seats if they showed at least 15 minutes before doors. The passes are pricey, but a good deal even if you make it to only 1/3rd of the 30-some shows at the fest.
A few blocks away, Andrew WK and the Calder Quartet finished their set with a cover of John Cage's 4'33" - or as Andrew put it "Johnny Cage! Fatality! Mortal Kombat!" The room was divided between those trying to rebel ("Play music!"), those trying to explain the piece ("It's supposed to be people talking"), those shushing, and those just enjoying the spectacle. Andrew returned for an encore of "Party Hard" (piano, voice and crowd participation) and brought out Calder's Eric Byers for a Bach cello piece, accompanied by an interpretive dance by Andrew WK (think "an impressionistic karate kid") dedicated to the late Merce Cunningham.
The compact nature of the participating venues in downtown Knoxville (one mid- and one large-size theater and a handful of smaller club-like spaces) gives Big Ears an intimate feel, and the festival's musicians - most recognizably, Sufjan Stevens, though his only performance is in a supporting role with Clogs (The BQE is being screened too) - can be seen hopping from venue to venue along with the fans.
The difficult decisions of Big Ears day one - Dutch post-punks the Ex against newcomers the xx - only intensify as the festival progresses, with the headliners like Joanna Newsom, Vampire Weekend and composer in residence Terry Riley all going head to head on Saturday.
More pictures and video from Big Ears day one are below...
"As Daedelus I tend to give into all my crazy thoughts, the twists and turns in productions will go this way and that way pretty much as it will. I almost feel like I have little say in the matter. Whilst the Long Lost for instance is two on all decisions (Laura Darlington, my wife and co-conspirator for the Long Lost, is quite good at the recording desk or behind a mic playing instruments or singing), that keeps the crazy much more domesticated. That, and we are interested at this time in songwriting that isn't altogether traditional, but has more elements people can access, I believe." [Daedelus]Daedelus will be going on tour with Jogger and Nosaj Thing across North America this February. They play NYC's (Le) Poisson Rouge on Saturday, February 20th. Tickets are on sale now.
Daedelus's new label, Magical Properties, who's putting on the tour, released Jogger's debut, This Great Pressure, last October. Album info is below and a remix of their song "Napping Captain" is a free download above.
Nosaj Thing is L.A. producer Jason Chung (whose website also lists "01.15.10 NYC? - New York, New York" a possible gig?). His remix of The xx's "Islands" is above. A 2010 Charlotte Gainsbourg remix is also on his resume.
Flyer and tour dates are below...