Electronic Feed

The Second Annual BRIC JazzFest Marathon: Night 1

by Steven Pisano

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(All photos by Steven Pisano.)

The BRIC JazzFest Marathon, three nights of topflight music now in its second season, opened Thursday night with a night of free jazz. Not free as in style, but free as in: No Cost. All you needed to do was show up at BRIC House and enjoy four and half hours of quality jazz (and other music) for absolutely nothing, thanks to financial support from the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment.

So, did you stay home and binge-watch Netflix?

Nine very different acts performed in three different spaces. The Stoop has rising steps that act as seats, bleacher-style. The Artist Studio is an intimate club-like space with cabaret tables in front and standing room in the back. And, the Ballroom is a more traditional concert space. Moving between the three was easy and encouraged via staggered scheduling, though there was usually a line for the popular Artist Studio. I managed to catch 8 of the 9 acts, missing only Ben Allison & Think Free.

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Warm Up 2016 at MoMA PS1

MOMA PS1 WarmUp
A torrential downpour blew through MoMA PS1 on Saturday afternoon, which threatened to put a damper on things at Warm Up, the Saturday afternoon dance party now in it's 19th year. But, it only lasted a few minutes, and managed to cool things off right before Baltimore's TT the Artist took over with her outrageous, Big Freedia-inspired stage show of flamboyant dancers and performers dressed as vulva. (Seriously.)

The rest of the afternoon got the house moving with earthy, rhythmic beats from DJ Lil Durk (Chicago, IL), DJ Class, (Baltimore, MD) and Newark's DJ Tameil and DJ Jayhood. This year's winning Young Architects Program installation by Mexico City's Escobedo Soliz Studio, is a series of florescent cables creating a (non-rainproof) canopy over much of the courtyard. And, yes, there's a pool for those less rainy days.

Warm Up continues on Saturday afternoons at MoMA PS1 through August 27. Schedules and additional details here. More pics on the photo page.


MATA Festival 2016 Wrapup

by Steven Pisano  2016 MATA Festival, Ryan Muncy, Dixon Place(All photos by Steven Pisano.)

As one of NYC's leading contemporary classical and experimental music festivals, the MATA Festival was back in town last week for six nights of innovative works by composers from around the world. On average, the directors of the festival receive about 1,100 submissions each year, out of which only 25-30 are usually performed. And yet, the fact that the number of submissions, from over 70 countries,increases each year, speaks to the need for a forum for young composers to share their work.

MATA's focus is on work by early career composers, many of them in their 30s. This year's festival saw works from more than a dozen countries, including Israel, Argentina, Turkey, Hungary, and Iran, among others. To perform these works, MATA arranged for top flight performers and ensembles to come to New York, including Ensemble neoN (from Norway), Ensemble Linea (from France), and the Rhythm Method Quartet

This year's offerings, although still "out there" in many respects, were much more unified in approach than the wildly divergent styles at last year's festival. With so many pieces performed over the week, in venues such as Scandinavia House, National Sawdust, and Dixon Place (not to mention an ice-breaker at the Paula Cooper Gallery), it is impossible to describe them all. Here are some highlights.

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Preview: Big Ears Festival 2016

Big ears festival 2015I'm excited to be returning to Knoxville, TN this weekend for the Big Ears Festival, which I attended for the first time last year and was pretty much blown away by the wall-to-wall mix of new music, electronic music, jazz, drone, and every other genre that doesn't neatly fit into a Pandora's box. This year's lineup includes everyone from Philip Glass and John Luther Adams, to Andrew Bird and Sunn O))). The festivities begin tomorrow night; stay tuned here and @feastofmusic for updates. Click here for a video montage of last year's festival.