6/16/13 The Bang On A Can Marathon this year moved to Pace University while the Winter Gardens are under renovation. The atmosphere here was more like a concert than a festival and hang, and as such the sound and concentration was much better. I watched over seven hours of performances, including Talea Ensemble performing the delicate, sublime “Schnee” (Ten canons for nine instruments) from Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen (see video), which, in my unslept state, transported me to a delicious listening space of semi-somnambulism. Other highlights included John King’s Astral Epitaphs performed by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and the TILT brass, with John King electronically processing the audio live. I was pleasantly impressed by Kendall Williams’ “Conception” for the new music steel drum ensemble NYUSTEEL along with NYU Contemporary Music Ensemble. I forgot that I was hearing steel drums, and it built to an intense euphoric crescendo. Dutch violinist Monica Germino performed Julia Wolfe’s wonderful “With a blue dress on” for solo violin, voice and sound design which built in layers, intensity and complexity, and was gripping. Talk Normal changed up the mood with a short set of noisy tribal songs. The day climaxed with the Bang On A Can Allstars performing Michael Gordon’s classic “Yo Shakespeare” with its complex interlocking rhythms and BOAC’s inhouse new-music marching band Asphalt Orchestra performing two compelling pieces by a personal fave of mine, Tatsuya Yoshida (of Ruins and KoenjiHyakkei), which were rollicking, complex and demented. Rescored for brass and percussion, the pieces took on a slightly Zappa-esque flavor, and as they moved and scattered, the performance was at once rough, exciting and precise. It’s good to see them move from a sideline to a main event, and great to see Asphalt’s unstoppable Ken Thomson (also of Gutbucket) playing with the BOAC allstars.