Tag Archives: Terry Riley

Hey, Buke and Gass, ummm, GASE, are back with new music

Thoughts on a name change

Buke and Gass keep their feet busy, too. (Photos © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Plus a PREVIEW OF THEIR NEW SONG!

It’s been more than a year since Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?  mentioned Buke and Gass. We’re overdue.

Arone Dyer on buke.

Maybe you’ve already noticed that there’s something different about this intense duo — their name. They’re now Buke and Gase, in what appears to be a slightly sad surrender to phonetics.

For those who have been paying close attention, the morphing began late last fall when the band posted this brief, cryptic bulletin on its website:

October 26 – Just played a show in Canada and our name is morphing.

But the reality didn’t sink in until we saw announcements for the band’s May 4 appearance at The National‘s Bryce and Aaron Dessner-curated Crossing Brooklyn Ferry series at BAM. We thought somebody had made a typo. On further investigation, we discovered the band had indeed changed the spelling.

Aron Sanchez on gass.

Although the pronunciation of the band name was easy to remember once you knew what it stood for — baritone ukulele=Buke, while guitar+bass=Gass — it appears the second half of the name was too often the butt of jokes rhyming with ass. So Arone Dyer, who plays the buke, and Aron Sanchez, on gass, gave in and changed the spelling.

But they didn’t change the sound, as you’ll hear on this great preview track from their next album, which they hope to release in September.

If you can’t make it to Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, or you just want more Buke and Gase, check out the lineup they’ve curated (they’re not listed as performing, just curating) through May 15 with Terry Riley‘s son Gyan Riley, at The Stone, John Zorn‘s music venue in Manhattan’s East Village.

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Kronos Quartet’s rare NYC club appearance at (Le) Poisson Rouge

 

David Harrington of Kronos Quartet at New York nightclub (Le) Poisson Rouge on Oct. 8, 2010. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

 

Groundbreaking ensemble sells out two nights at Greenwich Village nightspot

Kronos Quartet can and does regularly fill huge auditoriums for its programs. But for its latest appearance in New York City, the ensemble picked Greenwich Village’s (Le) Poisson Rouge, arguably the most welcoming venue for New Music New York City.

 

Kronos Quartet's cellist, Jeffrey Zeigler.

 

Kronos’ two-night program included a slew of premieres and put the spotlight on many New York-based composers and collaborators, including the super-talented young composer Missy Mazzoli (founder of the hot electroacoustic chamber ensemble Victoire), Bang on a Can founder Michael Gordon, guitarist Bryce Dessner of the bands Clogs and The National (formed in Cincinnatti but now based in Brooklyn) and the Young Peoples Chorus of New York City.

The 37-year-old, San Francisco-based qua
rtet  — David Harrington and John Sherba on violins, Hank Dutt on viola and Jeffrey Zeigler on cello — played a spirited set to a packed house on Friday evening, Oct. 8. The second installment is tonight, Saturday, Oct. 9, when Kronos offers a completely different program.

 

 

At the Friday show, Kronos kicked off with Dessner’s Aheym (Homeward), which he wrote for Kronos. Mazzoli’s lovely, lyrical Harp and Altar, also composed for Kronos, followed.

The first world premiere of the evening was Aleksandra Vrebalov‘s spell no. 4, for a changing world.

But the most stunning performance moments of the evening came next, when Kronos introduced the Young Peoples Chorus, founded and conducted by Francisco Nuñez. The youngsters entered from the darkened sides of the room shrieking and howling the vocal parts of Terry Riley‘s Another Secret eQuation, which he wrote for Kronos and had its world premiere at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall in March.

 

Composer Michael Gordon cheers the Young Peoples Chorus of New York City, with John Sherba and David Harrington of Kronos Quartet.

 

After a brief intermission, the Young Peoples Chorus rejoined Kronos for the world premiere of Gordon’s Exalted, an intensely emotional composition.

Click through to the jump for more words and photos about Kronos and collaborators. Continue reading

New Music’s next wave

ICR DDS GVSUNME

Remixer Dennis DeSantis, in the shadows, left, with the Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble at (Le) Poison Rouge. (Photos copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

I saw and heard the future of New Music on Sunday night, and I am happy to report the future is bright.

ICR Sax Solo

A saxophone solo opens the performance of "In C."

The Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble, which burst onto the scene with its fabulous 2007 performance (and followup recording) of Steve Reich‘s “Music for 18 Musicians”, filled (Le) Poisson Rouge last Sunday night with the sounds of another 20th Century classic — Terry Riley‘s “In C.”

ICR Jad

Radio Lab host Jad Abumrad was master of ceremonies.

Riley’s piece is more of a challenge than Reich’s because it is less structured, more mutable and highly shaped by the musical personality of the performers. The 15 talented players in GVSUNME — most of them students — played an engaging version that they made their own with the use of electronics and flourishes like a saxophone solo  to open the performance.

Sunday’s concert was a celebration of the release of In C Remixed, GVSUNME’s double-CD recording of In C and 18 remixes by 16 artists. The ensemble’s recording of “In C” clocks in at just over 20 minutes. For Sunday’s concert, the group played for about an hour. That’s the other major variable of the piece — it’s written in such a way that it can be as long or short, within certain limits, as the players want it to be.

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Jad Abumrad to host In C Remixed live

Jad_Abumrad

WNYC Radio Lab host Jad Abumrad is MC for the In C Remixed show at (Le) Poisson Rouge on Sunday evening.

If you haven’t booked tickets for the In C Remixed show at (Le) Poisson Rouge tomorrow evening, here’s another incentive: the innovative radio host Jad Abumrad will be MC for the evening.,

Jad is host of WNYC’s Radio Lab, a program that Ira Glass of This American Life has called Jad’s program “the best show on radio.”

Jad is the perfect choice of hosts, as he’s one of the artists who remixed the Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble‘s recording of Terry Riley‘s 20th Century classic In C for inclusion on the ensemble’s new In C Remixed CD.

With Jad as host and an opening set by the Slow Boys (Todd Reynolds and Michael Lowenstern, who also have remixes on the CD), it’s shaping up to be a memorable evening.

But if you really can’t make it, not to worry. The show is being recorded by WNYC/WQXR and will be available for listening on WQXR’s Q2 stream.

In C Remixed, featuring the GVSU New Music Ensemble and the Slow Boys is at (Le) Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, Manhattan. (212) 505-3474. Doors at 6:30 pm, show at 7:30.  Click here for more info or here for tickets. $15 in advance.

In C Remixed

incremixed

If you’re lucky enough to be in New York City next Sunday, don’t miss out on an amazing opportunity to witness a live performance of one of the 20th Century’s defining pieces of music, Terry Riley‘s In C.

The Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble is bringing its version of In C to the stage at (Le) Poisson Rouge on Nov. 8 to celebrate the release of its fantastic new recording, In C Remixed.

The GVSU ensemble obviously can’t reproduce the album — which features the recording of the title piece and 18 remixes by some of today’s best sonic manipulators — in a concert setting. But the show will feature live remixing by composer and sound designer Dennis DeSantis (one of the album’s remixers), videos by album remixer R. Luke DuBois, and an opening set by the Slow Boys (comprising digital violin genius Todd Reynolds and bass clarinetist and composer Michael Lowenstern, who also contributed remixes).

terry_riley

Terry Riley

This is a show that requires homework, albeit very pleasant homework. Here’s your assignment:

Before the show — best to do it now — download In C Remixed from your favorite digital music source. (It’s available now at Amazon.com and on iTunes. If you want a physical CD, you’ll have to wait until Nov. 17.)

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In C Remixed web site launches

Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble at (Le) Poisson Rouge in NYC.

Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble at (Le) Poisson Rouge in NYC.

The Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble — the group that made the splendid recording of Steve Reich‘s Music for 18 Musicians in 2007 — is at it again. This time the group has commissioned a bunch of artists to record, remix and reinvent Terry Riley‘s seminal work, In C.

You can get a taste of what they’re up to by checking out the project’s web site, which  was launched today.

In this project, a slew of invited artists took  GVSUNME’s recording of In C and remixed it to create their own version. The only rule was to produce a 4- to 8-minute track. Contributors include: Jad Abumrad, Masonic (Mason Bates), Jack Dangers, Dennis DeSantis, R. Luke DuBois, Mikael Karlsson/Rob Stephenson, Zoë Keating, Phil Kline, Kleerup, Glenn Kotche, David Lang, Michael Lowenstern, DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid, Nico Muhly, Todd Reynolds, and Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR).

Their versions  are being assembled into a album, In C Remixed, due out digitally on Oct. 27 and on CD on Nov. 17. It’s available for preorder here. The ensemble is also performing the reinventions live, and will bring the show to NYC’s (Le) Poisson Rouge on Sunday evening, Nov. 8. $15.

Steve Reich at MASS MoCA

Composers David Lang and Steve Reich at MASS MoCA on Saturday, July 25. (Copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

Composers David Lang and Steve Reich discuss the life and work of artist Sol Lewitt, whose wall drawings are the subject of a retrospective at MASS MoCA. (Copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

Every summer for eight years running, a New England museum of contemporary art becomes a museum of contemporary sound for a couple of weeks when Bang on a Can moves in.

This year’s festival started July 14 when NYC-based Bang on a Can’s founders Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe and David Lang, plus staff, and a crew of teachers joined  35 young musicians and composers at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams, Mass.

While there, the students, called fellows, spend their days working with faculty members — some of the best players, conductors and composers on the contemporary music scene today — and preparing music for two gallery recitals a day over the course of the 2 1/2 week program. It’s a musical boot camp, where the boundaries between work and play are happily blurred as participants flow from gallery recitals to concerts to informal jam sessions at working-class town taverns.

Every year, the festival also eatures a major figure from the contemporary music scene as special guest, an artist who typically interacts with the fellows and often plays with them onstage.

Performing Music for Pieces of Wood while the composer looks on.

Performing Music for Pieces of Wood in a gallery adjacent to the Sol Lewitt exhbit while the composer looks on.

This year’s festival is a little different. Steve Reich, a master of minimalism, who, like Meredith Monk, Don Byron, and Terry Riley, has been in a guest artists at previous Bang on a Can summer festivals, is more  featured artist. He made an appearance on Saturday, July 25, to reminisce about his friendship with the late Sol Lewitt, whose wall drawings are the subject of a massive retrospective show at the museum.

Sol Lewitt turned to bright colors in his later wall drawings, like these on the third floor of the MASS MoCA exhibit.

Sol Lewitt turned to bright colors in his later wall drawings, like these on the third floor of the MASS MoCA exhibit.

Reich was also feted with performances of his music in the gallery and the courtyard of the museum and in a more formal way with an evening concert including one of his best-known works, Music for 18 Musicians, and one of his toughest, Eight Lines.

Reich and wife Beryl Korot listen to David Cossin play drums.

Reich and wife Beryl Korot listen to a percussion performance in the MASS MoCA courtyard.

It was a splendid day, with lost of spirited playing. Reich looked quite pleased with the results, and I was thrilled to see the black box theater packed for the evening performance.

Bang on a Can’s rendition of Music for 18 Musicians (which actually involved 19 musicians in this particular presentation) was played well and with emotionally satisfying results. Eight Lines, written for eight players, but performed herre in a version for 16, came together well. It was a testament to the professionalism and dedication of the players that they were able to pull together a credible performance of the difficult piece in less than two weeks.

If you haven’t checked out MASS MoCA yet, I urge you to do it. The museum is spectacular and the art changes dramatically from year to year. And Bang on a Can’s festival, dubbed Banglewood as a play on the much more conventional Tanglewood Music Festival nearby, will open your eyes and ears.

The crowning achievement of each summer’s festival is the marathon. This year’s six-hour marathon runs from 4-10 p.m. this Saturday, Aug. 1, in the Hunter Center at MASS MoCA. It will feature a host of works, including George Antheil’s Ballet Mechanique and Shaker Loops, one of John Adams‘ early works. Tickets are available by clicking here. $24.