Last week in New York was one big concert frenzy, and I had a blast! Notable things included:
Goose bumps! A clear signal that something very excellent is in progress. I experienced more than one episode of these as a result of:
Roomful of Teeth at the Ecstatic Music Festival. They delivered an utterly delightful, inspiring evening of vocal gymnastics concocted by William Brittelle, Caleb Burhans, and tUnE-yArDs. Wonderful stuff all around! I didn’t know the music of tUnE-yArDs (Merrill Garbus) before this concert, and for those who are fans of the Juana Molina/Andrew Bird do-it-ALL-yourself school of singer-songwriters employing loops for the Forces of Good, she is a great addition to that playlist! Plus, there’s yodeling.
Inuksuit by John Luther Adams at the Park Avenue Armory. I have already written some reflections about that elsewhere. And dear pal Molly Sheridan has wrought sheer brilliance about JLA that should be watched and read.
In addition to those events there was a hunk of the Music of Now marathon at Symphony Space. The world of new music totally needs more Errollyn Wallen!
Finally, I scurried over to Alice Tully Hall after a busy day to hear ICE perform. Imagine a concert of Feldman, Cage, Xenakis and Webern attracting hundreds! Love it! I was looking especially forward to hearing the Feldman pieces, and in the end was most taken with Jalons by Xenakis. I think I like the music of Xenakis for some of the same reasons I like the music of John Luther Adams – every so often through gigantic, thick, busy clouds of musical activity pop individual instrumental lines, as if bits of the composition’s DNA are being revealed. Like watching dolphins jump out of the ocean.
Among other happy discoveries is this film, which I am excited to see! In graduate school the best (and toughest) class I took was without a doubt ethnomusicology. I did my big research project on raves and techno music, and loved every minute of it. Say what you will – I got an A.