Monthly Archives: December 2010

TwoSense: Old guard piano meets new guard cello

Australian pianist Lisa Moore and American cellist Ashley Bathgate join forces as TwoSense.

We at Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? can’t think of a better way to kick off the New Year than with New Music.

So we’ll be at (Le) Poisson Rouge in Manhattan on Tuesday night, Jan. 4, for the New York City debut of TwoSense. It’s a New Music Super Duo and commissioning powerhouse comprising Lisa Moore, the superb Australian pianist who was a longtime member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and Ashley Bathgate, the Saratoga Springs, N.Y., native who’s the All-Stars’ latest cellist. Oh, and in addition to playing their primary instruments, both women will sing. Lisa will also play melodica, while Ashley adds kick drum to the duo’s sound.

Ashley and Lisa are both passionate about New Music and are a joy to watch and hear.

Ashley Bathgate at (Le) Poisson Rouge in September, 2010. (Copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Here’s how they describe the mission of TwoSense:

TwoSense is a concert series and commissioning venture established by Ashley Bathgate and Lisa Moore presenting new, experimental commissions paired with mainstream works for cello and piano and guest artists. Both emerging and distinguished composers are writing works for TwoSense. The TwoSense mission seeks to ensure the inclusion of this music in the library of great chamber music. Please join us! PS – all the composers who are alive will be there!

And if the mere presence of Ashley and Lisa isn’t enough to persuade you to attend, check out the guest performers: Iva Bittová, voice/violin, Kelli Kathman, flute and Andy Akiho, steel pans.

Iva Bittová, Czech violinist, vocalist and composer, will join TwoSense at (Le) Poisson Rouge. (Copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

And then, as TwoSense says, all the living composers on the program will be in attendance. That list includes: Akiho, Bittová, Stephen Feigenbaum, Paul Kerekes, Jerome Kitzke, and Kate Moore. They’re also performing music by Leos Janacek.

TwoSense. 6:30 p.m. (show at 7:30), Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St., Manhattan. Tickets are $15 and available by clicking here, or call (212) 505-FISH (3474).

R.I.P. Captain Beefheart, 1941-2010

The cover for Trout Mask Replica, one of Captain Beefheart's most bizarre and memorable images.

Captain Beefheart in the Mojave Desert, 1980. (Photo by Anton Corbijn)

Captain Beefeheart, born Don Van Vliet, died on Friday, Dec. 17, less than a month short of his 70th birthday.

He reportedly died of complications of multiple sclerosis.

He was a bizarre and influential musical genius. Here’s Pitchfork‘s bio:

Van Vliet collaborated with Frank Zappa before adopting the Captain Beefheart persona and forming Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, his constantly shifting backing band, in 1964. On the strength of the blues-rock single “Diddy Wah Diddy”, Beefheart and his band signed to A&M. After the label rejected their debut album, Beefheart and co. re-recorded many of the songs and eventually released them as the classic 1967 debut album Safe as Milk.

After signing with Zappa’s Straight Records, Beefheart released the legendary 1969 double LP Trout Mask Replica. Following that surreal masterpiece, Beefheart recorded and released more albums, seesawing back and forth between euphoric bizarreness and more conventional rock. Beefheart retired from music after 1982’s Ice Cream for Crow, retreating to the Mojave Desert and focusing on his visual art. Though his art career was quite successful, he disappeared from public life, reportedly suffering from multiple sclerosis.

New York City’s preparing for an Unsilent Night

Composer Phil Kline hands out tapes to Unsilent Night/NYC participants in 2005.

New York, it’s time to get ready for Unsilent Night!

This musical happening, composed and orchestrated — in every sense of the word — by Phil Kline, returns to its roots in New York on Saturday, Dec. 18. It kicks off at 7 p.m. at the Washington Square Arch in Greenwich Village.

This is the 19th year for Unsilent Night in New York, where it all started in 1992.

It’s an amazing experience in which every participant is responsible for part of the music by carrying a boombox or other speaker-equipped music playback gadget to sent Kline’s ethereal composition through the cold night air.

There’s nothing specifically religious or sectarian about the music or the event, but it generates a warm, holiday spirit for most participants.

Be sure to arrive early and bring your own boom box. Dress warmly and prepare to have a great time!

You’ll save time and be better prepared if you bring your own CD or MP3 file to play on whatever system you’re using. Click here to download your part. CDs will also be available at the start.

Here’s  this year’s instructions, direct from the Unsilent Night website:

On December 18 at 7:00pm, Phil Kline will lead a massive chorus of boomboxes from the West Village to the East Village in the 19th annual holiday presentation of Unsilent Night. People will gather in Washington Square Park, and less than an hour and mile later, end up in Tompkins Square Park.

In NYC, it is recommended that participants arrive by 6:45 pm at the arch in Washington Square. 
Phil Kline will hand out a limited number of boomboxes—and cassettes and CD’s for those who bring their own players. The public is strongly encouraged to bring their own boomboxes and hold them high as they play the music. Mp3 downloads of the individual tracks will be available on this website after November 27, so pod-docks and other sound-blasters can be carried . People have even brought their laptops hooked up to large speakers mounted on a wagon.

“Unsilent Night was designed in 1992 to withstand the unreliability, playback delay and occasional quavering tones of cassettes, “ said Phil Kline in an interview with the San Francisco Examiner. “About 90 percent of people have CD players now, so I make CDs available as well, but there’s something about the twinkling, hallucinatory effect of a warbling cassette tape that I enjoy.”

The event is free, and will be held rain or shine.

Participants can e-mail for information.

The growing list of U.S. cities presenting Unsilent Night this year:
Asheville, Baltimore, Boulder, Charleston, SC, Charleston, WV, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New Haven, New York, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, Traverse City and beyond the U.S.:
Hong Kong, Oxford, UK | Cambridge, Ontario | Vancouver, BC | Fredericton, NB.

More cities to come!

Great news: As predicted, Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival returns to MASS MoCA in 2011

When Wilco arrived at MASS MoCA last summer, the band even took over the museum's sign. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Fantastic festival can only get better

We don’t like to brag (well, okay, sometimes we do), but Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? predicted that Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival would become an annual event — even before this year’s inaugural gathering wrapped up.

Wilco HQ announced the news with an email this morning:

Greetings and Happy Holidays. We’ve got a last bit of news before heading home for the break. The big story here is that Solid Sound 2011 is officially ON and happening the weekend of June 24-26, once again at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. if you were there last year, we know you’ll be back. If not, well, this year you should know better. Ticket information and more will be announced on January 18. So keep an eye and ear out.

Safe travels and sweet holidays to you all. Thanks again for another great year in Wilcoworld. We’ll see you in 2011 with what will undoubtedly be a whole bunch of news regarding Wilco tours, records, the festival and so on. Cheers.

the HQ Staff

This years three-day event was held  in mid-August. It gave thousands of fans of all ages the run of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in the Berkshires town of North Adams, Mass. Participants got to hear lots of music from Wilco, the side projects of band members like Jeff Tweedy, Nels Cline, Pat Sansone, their friends, and got to sample comedians and films along with the spectacular art on the gritty former factory campus. It was well run, well curated and surprisingly chill.

The music was great, the scheduling tight without being overwhelming, the facilities were superb and the food and drink never seemed to run out. Everything worked together to make it one of the best and most memorable festivals around.

Wilco perfoms on the main stage in Joe's Field at MASS MoCA.

Museum management was thrilled to have as many as 5,000 well-behaved patrons on site at once, and obviously saw the festival as something worth bringing back. Museum Director Joe Thompson was singing the praises of the event all weekend, and made no secret of the fact that he supported the idea of doing it again in 2011.

And Cline brimmed with excitement about the festival when we spoke with him at Joe’s Pub in New York City, where he and fiancee Yuka Honda were checking out Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl‘s new project, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger.

Next year’s festival is earlier in the summer — June instead of August. So save the date and stay tuned for an update in a month.

Nellie McKay vs. Christmas trees

A trippy light show for a trippy artist: Nellie McKay and her quintet at New York's Highline Ballroom. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Nellie McKay never disappoints. She did a spirited show at the Highline Ballroom on Saturday night, Dec. 11 with a full band that was as sharp, charming  and entertaining as any Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? has seen.

Quirkiness is big part of Nellie’s shtick, but sometimes it hinders enjoyment of her amazing ability to interpret timeless pop songs and make important points with her own tunes. But at times, especially in her solo shows, Nellie’s seemingly absent-mindedness can overwhelm the show a bit.

Nellie McKay and her band.

At the Highline she was organized, focused and well-rehearsed. While there were a couple of false starts, there were no long, awkward pauses while she tried to remember the next song, or find a battered cheat sheet in her homemade fakebook. It was clearly a benefit of working with a band. With bass, guitar, drums, trumpet and trombone all depending on her for cues, there was less room for stumbling.

Nellie McKay duets with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Nellie never pulls punches when addressing things that are important to her: the environment, animal rights, the horrors of fur. But even when she goes a bit too far, she never loses her charm. She performed an anti-Christmas Tree song, with lines like “please don’t chop another Christmas Tree” and “please don’t ax another evergreen.”  Okay, I can see the moral problems with Christmas Tree production and reasons not to support that system, but she lost me with the line “please don’t kill another living thing.” I don’t want to get political about it, but something has to die for every meal — even a vegetarian or vegan repast.

Click through to the jump for more photos and details.

Vince Giordano joins Nellie McKay.

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Yale Percussion Group coming to Zankel Hall on Dec. 12

Members of the Yale Percussion Group rehearsing Thierry de Mey's Musique des Tables. (Photo by Bob Handelman)

We at Will You Miss Me When  I’m Gone? have a soft spot for percussion music and the ensembles that play it well.

So it should be no surprise that we’re excited about the Yale Percussion Group’s visit to New York on Sunday, Dec. 12. This exciting group of performers — Michael Compitello, John Corkill, Ian Rosenbaum, Yun-Chiu Candy Chiu, Leonardo Gorosito  and Adam Rosenblatt, directed by founder Robert van Sice — will be bringing four major percussion classics to the stage of Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall.

Included is Mauricio  Kagel’s rarely performed Dressur to the Balinese-flavored mysticism in James Wood’s Village Burial With Fire.  Add to that Thierry de Mey’s Musique des Tables, played on amplified table, which is as much fun to watch as it is to hear and top it off with Steve Reich’s Sextet, and you’ve got a great evening of percussion music performed by top-notch players.

If you need proof, check out performance videos of YPG at work by clicking here.

Ticket contest

Boosey & Hawkes, Steve Reich’s publisher, is running a contest for free tickets. You have until 2 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 10, to enter. Click here to enter.  If you don’t win, read on for ticket-buying information.

musand Yale Percussion Group performs at 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12. Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall,  Seventh Avenue at 57th Street, Manhattan. Tickets, which are $15-25, are available at the box office or by clicking here.

Acclaimed for its virtuosity and electrifying stage presence, the Yale Percussion Group and its director, Robert Van Sice, perform four challenging and theatrical works that explore the limitless potential of percussion instruments, written by four singular contemporary composers: Mauricio Kagel, Steve Reich, Thierry de Mey, and James Wo