Electronic Feed

Preview: Big Ears Festival in Knoxville

Big-ears-2015-black-955x500
I've hinted at this in some previous posts, but I'll be headed down to Knoxville, TN this weekend for the 4th edition of Big Ears Festival, which Rolling Stone has called "the classiest, most diverse festival in the country.” With good reason: encompassing everything from experimental and new music, to industrial electronica and indie rock, the festival is the brainchild of veteran Knoxville promoter Ashley Capps, best known as the driving force behind Bonnaroo and the Forecastle Festival.

This year, the artists in residence are the Kronos Quartet, who will be playing no fewer than six concerts with everyone from Wu Man and Laurie Anderson, to Bryce Dessner and Nels Cline. And, if that's not enough to get you going, there's tUnE-yArDs, Ben Frost, The Bad Plus, Bil Frisell...For fuck's sake, they're even flying in Terry Riley to jam with his son Gyan and Tracy Silverman. Wow.

Check back here and @feastofmusic for updates throughout the weekend.


Tristan Perich's Parallels with Meehan/Perkins Duo

Meehan/Perkins DuoI first heard Doug Perkins and Todd Meehan - otherwise known as the Meehan/Perkins Duo - perform Tristan Perich's Parallels at MoMA in 2013, as part of MoMA's Soundings exhibition. The performance, which was held outdoors in the Summergarden, combined tuned triangles, hi-hats and 1-bit electronics in an ecstatic, trance-inducing swirl of sound. 

Over the past year and a half, the Meehan/Perkins duo has performed Parallels multiple times, refining their technique and honing their chops. They performed it again last night at Gowanus' Sky Gallery to celebrate the CD release of Parallels on the Physical Editions imprint, which includes a fold-up poster of the complete score. (Three additional recordings are set to be released later this year.)

In contrast to the MoMA event, last night's performance provided a more concentrated listening experience. For the first 20 minutes, the mix of triangles and electronics produced a shimmering, ethereal glow. Then, suddenly, the 1 bit music erupted with a series of quick pulses that made you sit straight up in your seat. The music steadily grew more complex from there, with Meehan and Perkins showing incredible dexterity as they kept pace with the electronics, finally ending after 45 minutes of thrilling, bewildering sound.

More pics on the photo page


"Meredith Monk and Friends" at Zankel Hall

by Steven Pisano

Meredith Monk at Zankel HallOne thing is clear: Meredith Monk has a lot of friends—musicians who have both directly and indirectly been influenced by her work. And she has written a lot of music. So, it was only fitting that Monk, who is this season's Debs Composer's Chair at Carnegie Hall, was the subject of Sunday afternoon's “Meredith Monk and Friends” at Zankel Hall, celebrating her 50-year career (so far) as one of today's most widely admired musicians. 

This marathon concert lasted four-and-a-half hours, and hardly scratched the surface of her output. 1970’s “Dungeon” was performed with frenetic fury by John Zorn on a squawking, screeching, caterwauling saxophone while Cyro Baptista thumped methodically on a big bass drum. Other works were as current as the delicate a cappella “Cellular Songs,” which Monk and her famed Vocal Ensemble have been working on for the last several weeks. At age 70, Monk is clearly not content to simply rehash the past, but continues to look ever forward.

Continue reading ""Meredith Monk and Friends" at Zankel Hall" »


Bing and Ruth Return to Brooklyn's Littlefield

DSC01871Where do you file a band that blends electronics with string and wind instruments in a soft, hazy, occasionally ecstatic vibe? Indie? Ambient? New Music? David Moore, the pianist and creative force behind Bing and Ruth, likes to call it "quiet music." For music that seems custom built for a cozy evening in front of the fireplace (or whatever you might have in fire-code-happy NYC), it was impressive to see Littlefield packed this past Friday night with so many close listeners - including more than a few snuggling couples. 

"I think this is the latest we've ever played," Moore said from the stage while introducing the seven-piece band. (Opening was Christopher Tignor, who sang over his own violin and electronics à la Owen Pallett.)

After not having heard Bing and Ruth in these parts since 2009 - David has been busy playing in Langhorne Slim's band - the set was both a trip down memory lane and all-too-short. Fortunately, I'll get to see them again in two weeks down in Knoxville, Tennessee, during the fourth Big Ears Festival. What's that, you say? Check out this lineup.

More pics on the photo page.