Electronic Feed

Celebrating Pierre Boulez's 90th Birthday at National Sawdust

by Steven Pisano


(Photographs by Steven Pisano.)

Last week at National Sawdust a series of four concerts celebrated the 90th birthday (back in March) of French composer, conductor, and music writer Pierre Boulez, a greatly admired champion and practitioner of 12-tone and serialist composition. Pascal Gallois conducted the highly regarded International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), which recorded the concert for a future release.

The final concert of the series last Saturday began with “Polifonica-Monodica-Ritmica” by Luigi Nono, which despite my admitted antipathies towards serialist music, had an entertaining tension throughout. Mostly random percussion, even the silences had a well-measured tautness to them.

But while Nono kept me wondering what was coming next musically, Boulez’s “Eclat” and Karlheinz Stockhausen’s “Kontra-punkte,” which followed next on the program, made me wonder what I was eating for dinner. Pad Thai? Pizza? Pastitsio? My mind kept shamelessly wandering off to anywhere but focusing on the music. To my amateur ears, this music is strictly an acquired taste.

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Christine and the Queens at Webster Hall

by Steven Pisano

  Christine and the Queens
(All photographs by Steven Pisano.)

To an English-speaking audience, the name Héloïse Letissier (le-TISS-ee-ay) was probably destined to drop to the bottom of the sea. But, reimagined as the semi-alliterative Christine and the Queens, Ms. Letissier has surfed across the Atlantic on a perfect wave of media hugs and kisses from Spin, The New Yorker, Pitchfork, and others, who have heralded not only her brightly appealing dance pop, but also her gender-bending persona, often dressing in men’s-style suits.

Touring this fall in support of Marina and the Diamonds, Christine and the Queens headlined the Grand Ballroom at Webster Hall on November 11, playing to a sold out audience including a sizable French-speaking contingent. Technically speaking, Christine and the Queens is not a group, but a solo project. But Ms. Letissier tours with others—in this case, two dancers, a guitarist, and a guy on keyboards and electronics. She likes to run back and forth on the stage, moving in a manner that reminds some people of Madonna-style vogueing.

Ms. Letissier is an extremely beguiling performer. She's a bit goofy, a bit romantic, screams, whimpers, and throws herself headlong into every song. In her own words, she is your weird cousin who sits at the end of the table during dinner, playing with her fork. Her English is flawless, which should help her bypass the resistance some Americans have toward Continental Europeans.

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CMJ Music Marathon: A Night at Webster Hall

by Steven Pisano 

Hannah Cohen(All photographs by Steven Pisano.)

On the second night of last week’s CMJ Music Marathon, Webster Hall was filled with bands that ranged from dreamy self-absorption, to dressed-all-in-black arena rock, to a trippy electronic dance fantasy. I caught acts on two of the three stages.

In the Ballroom upstairs, model and musician Hannah Cohen sang ethereal and meandering songs that looped in and out of focus. These contemplative meditations probably would be best listened to in a darkened bedroom illuminated by a galaxy of twinkling candles. Once a California high school soccer star, and the daughter of a jazz drummer, Cohen was “discovered’ as a model and spent most of her 20s modeling and then hanging out in the New York art scene. Now she sings moody and languorous songs as she pads about the stage slowly, seemingly lost in her own world, like a cat. Some people have compared her in some ways to Lana Del Ray.

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FREE TICKETS: Cut Copy's Ben Browning at (Le) Poisson Rouge

Ben Browning

As the bassist for Australian synth-poppers Cut Copy, Ben Browning has been a part of the some of the most effervescent dance music of the last decade. Next Thursday, June 30th at (Le) Poisson Rouge, Mr. Browning strikes out on his own with the debut of his live set up and DJ sets from Moullinex, Ayer, and Powerslug DJs.

Catch the show with a pair of free tickets, courtesy of FoM. 
For your chance to win:

1. Email free@feastofmusic.com    -OR-

2. Tweet #FreeTickets @feastofmusic @_BenBrowning  @lprnyc -OR-

3. Head to our Facebook page and COMMENT on our giveaway post! Note: "Likes" on their own will not be considered valid entries.