09/13/14 From old blighty, People Like Us (aka Vicki Bennett) presented her new work “Consequences (One Thing Leads To Another)” at the new performance space at the WFMU studios in Jersey City.
“Consequences has two definitions; it is the result of some previous action, and a game (called Exquisite Corpse by the Surrealists) in which a larger picture/narrative is created by assembling subject matter “blindly” in relation to a small amount of information made visible before it as a continuation point. “
For the second part of the evening People Like Us improvised over another of her films along with M.C.Schmidt (of Matmos) and Jason Willett, to delightful effect.
09/12/14 Karen O has a solo album out called Crush Songs and played Le Poisson Rouge to support it. She was backed by Moses Sumney and Holly Miranda on guitars with YYY Nik Zinner guesting on a couple of songs and Brian Chase joining on tambourine for the last number. The material is intimate, understated and gorgeous, and Karen looked stunning in a gown by her long-time costume designer Christian Joy. Jason Grisell joined Karen for the encore song, which came from the Stop The Virgens opera.
09/10/14 and 09/11/14 I caught the last two nights of the 3 night double bill of Steve Reich and Philip Glass at Brooklyn Academy of Music, each night split into two sets beginning with Reich’s ensemble and, following an intermission, as set by Glass’ ensemble. On Sep 10th, Steve Reich’s “Drumming” was a show stopper. I first saw this piece performed by Reich in London in the early 80’s, and back then it was one of the most transcendent musical experiences of my life. Seeing it again this night was still exhilerating. Glass sat in with Reich’s ensemble on “Four Organs” and Reich returned the favor, sitting in with Glass on “Music in Similar Motion”. The night ended euphorically with the storming rendition Act III from Glass’ “The Photographer”. On Sep 11th the program kicked off with Reich performing “Clapping Music” with Russell Hartenberger. Next, Manorexia / Bang On A Can percussionist David Cossin performed “Piano Phase”, playing the piece behind a projection of himself, moving out of phase with himself. Given the date, Reich’s ensemble fittingly performed “WTC 9/11”, which incorporates voice samples into a string quartet, followed by the intricate Sextet. Glass’ set followed, working thru beautiful delicate pieces from Glassworks and an excerpt from his David Bowie Low concerto, closing with an ecstatic rendition of “Spaceship” from Einstein On The Beach and ovations all round. Surveying the instruments onstage, I marvelled at how these two pioneers coaxed such stunning overtones, timbres and layers from them. Reich’s phase experiments effected me profoundly back in the day, and the first Foetus ever single clearly contains a Glass homage!
09/06/14 The world premiere of Andrew Lafkas' “Two Paths with Active Shadows under Three Moons and Surveillance" at the beautiful
Church of the Annunciation in Williamsburg was performed by Marcia Basset (electric guitar), Barry Weisblat (electronics), Ron Stabinsky (organ), Che Chen (violin), Laura Ortman (violin), C Spencer Yeh (violin), Michael Bullock (bass), Andrew Lafkas (bass), Rick Brown (cymbal), Ryan Sawyer (cymbal), Sean Meehan (cymbal and snare), Brian Chase (bass drum), Sandy Gordon (bass drum), Gil Arno (microphone and recording), Wolfgang Gil (microphone and recording), Daniel Neumann (microphone and recording) and Ben Owen (microphone and recording). Lafkas’ meditative drone piece unfolded slowly and utilized the church’s pipe organ, and shifted in frequency with the introduction of new combinations of the instruments, leaving plenty of space to highlight new timbres and tonalities. Presented as part of the Music For Contemplation series.
09/05/14 The intense math / death metal band Cleric, from Philadelphia, closed Dither’s annual 6 hour extravaganza with a searing set. Dither are NY based New Music electric guitar quartet who curated today’s festival at St Ann’s in Brooklyn Heights, which included sets from Lee Ranaldo, Andrea Parkins & Brian Chase, Jace Clayton (DJ /rupture), String Noise, Seaven Teares, James Ilgenfritz, Happy Fun Smile and many more