Monthly Archives: March 2013

Vital Vox Take 2: A festival of the human voice, supercharged and guaranteed Sandy free!

Vital Vox was knocked down, but not out, by Superstorm Sandy.

Vital Vox was knocked down, but not out, by Superstorm Sandy.

If you like the sound of the human voice, but like it even better with a little extra oomph, the Fourth Annual Vital Vox Festival is for you.

The two-evening event, as always, features some of today’s most amazing vocal artists. But this year’s twist is called “Vox Electronics” and focuses on amazing artists who take their sound to a new level with electronic manipulation of all kinds.

It’s scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, March 25 and 26, at Roulette in Brooklyn.

The intriguing festival was scheduled for last October, but a little storm named Sandy had other plans. But organizers have regrouped and are ready to go with a slightly retooled lineup.

Monday night’s program features Philip Hamilton, Loom Trio (an ensemble that includes Vital Vox co-artistic director Sasha Bogdanowitsch) and violinist-vocalist Sarah Bernstein‘s duo project Unearthish with  percussionist Satoshi Takeishi.

Pamela Z performs at the 2008 Bang on a Can Marathon in the Winter Garden at the World Financial Center in Manhattan. (Photo © 2008, Steven P. Marsh)

Tuesday brings in Lisa Karrer and David Simons, Bogdanowitsch  with Loom Ensemble and Pamela Z.

For our part, Pamela Z was our entree into the world of manipulated voice, and remains among our top two or three favorites in this arena. The things she can do to her voice with a Mac laptop and an occasional piece of percussion is pretty awesome. And when she pulls out her full arsenal — especially her Body Synth gesture controller — look out!

The festival’s other co-artistic director, Sabrina Lastman, was scheduled to perform in October, but isn’t on the new program.

Every artist on this bill has serious vocal chops. One of them could make your top three. Why not give them a listen?

Fourth Annual Vital Vox Festival, 8 p.m. Monday, March 25 and Tuesday, March 26. Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue (at Third Avenue), Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Information at the Vital Vox website  or follow Vital Vox on Twitter. Tickets, $15/$10 for students, seniors and members available at the Roulette website.

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Guilty: Babe the Blue OX makes its best album ever

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First release from Brooklyn perennial in 15 years

We didn’t really know Babe the Blue OX in its 1990s heyday, when the band was a regular(-ish) feature on bills around New York City. We heard and appreciated some of its recordings, and were charmed by its Paul Bunyan-esque name and Barbra Streisand-ish album titles.

For whatever reason, we never saw Babe live until a couple of years ago, when the members decided to come out of accidental retirement and start playing on a semi-regular basis again.

(Full disclosure: We met and became friendly with singer-guitarist Tim Thomas through his day job as a fund-raiser for a nonprofit long before we even realized he was in Babe.)

Listen to Guilty and read more after the jump. Continue reading

Bang on a Can introduces new compositions at the Peoples Commissioning Fund concert

See what a little cash from a lot of people can do

While we’re generally ecstatic about New Amsterdam Records’ Ecstatic Music Festival, we’re particularly psyched about the latest installment of Bang on a Can’s long-running Peoples Commissioning Fund concert series.

It’s slated for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14, at Merkin Concert Hall in Manhattan.

The contemporary classical organization since 1997 has been collecting contributions, mostly small, from lots and lots of music lovers (that’s the “Peoples” part), aggregating them (the “Fund” part), and using them to commission (the Commissioning part) new work from composers new and established.

Bang on a Can calls this “a radical partnership between artists and audiences” that uses crowd-sourcing to fund new work. While the idea probably never was unique to Bang on a Can , it no doubt opened the door to other funding machines, such as Kickstarter and PledgeMusic.

The concept shatters the longstanding model of big-bucks patrons fueling the production of new work. This crowd-sourcing concept, which predates the social media boom, has raised almost $300,000 since its inception and made it possible for Bang on a Can to help in create more than 50 new works. Continue reading

Ticket price for Wilco’s 2013 Solid Sound Festival increases $25 on March 11

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You have less than a week to buy your weekend passes to this great festival before the price goes up

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? has told you before, and is taking this opportunity to tell you again: Solid Sound, Wilco’s music and arts festival at MASS MoCA is one of the best music festivals ever. We’ve attended the first two editions and have no intention of missing V3 this year — on June 21-23 at the museum in North Adams, Mass.

Continue reading