Category Archives: Video

New York composer Matt Marks dies at 38

Composer Matt Marks died Friday, May 11, 2018.

Composer Matt Marks died Friday, May 11, 2018.

Talented young composer Matt Marks  — really a quadruple threat, given his beautiful singing ability, high-level horn playing (he was a founding member of leading contemporary music ensemble Alarm Will Sound), and arranging — died Friday, May 11.

He was 38.

He died in St. Louis, Missouri, where Alarm Will Sound had performed on May 9 and had been doing some recording, the band’s marketing director, Michael Clayville, tells NPR’s Deceptive Cadence blog.

Related: Fundraiser for Matt Marks’ fiancée

Learning of the sweet, funny, and sometimes acid-tongued Marks’ death under any circumstances would have been gutting. But my first clue came when composer Ted Hearne’s heartfelt tribute turned up in my Facebook feed Saturday night. I was in New Music setting that was such a familiar part of Marks’ life: at the Alexander Kasser Theater in Montclair, New Jersey, for a Peak Performances presentation of Julia Wolfe and Maya Beiser’s “Spinning,”with composer David Lang and artist Suzanne Bocanegra among the members of the audience.

The context — Peak Performances has a track record of incubating powerful new works, including David T. Little’s “Dog Days,” which springs from a well that also nourished Marks’ work — made the news of his death that much more of a gut punch.

Marks’ passing was announced on Facebook by his fiancee, Mary Kouyoumdjian.

No cause of death was given.

Alarm Will Sound posted an announcement hours after Kouyoumdjian, which precisely repeated her parting admonition: “We appreciate your sensitivity during this difficult time.”

The always funny Marks — he frequently offered random, wry, witty commentary on Twitter, lately as “Matt Marks (aka JonBenét Gramsci)” and for many years, simply under the childlike moniker “Mafoo” —  died the morning after he tweeted news that the National Endowment for the Arts had approved a $10,000 grant for the staging of his splendid opera, “Mata Hari” (seen last year at New York’s Prototype Festival) at the West Edge Opera in Berkeley, California, in August.

WATCH: An excerpt from composer Matt Marks’ opera “Mata Hari”:

I saw and was impressed by “Mata Hari” at Prototype —  where the composer, as always made a point to offer a cheerful hello —  Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? last posted about him in 2010, after a performance of his earlier work, “The Little Death: Vol. 1,” which he also performed with soprano Mellissa Hughes.

So, I couldn’t say I knew him well, and don’t wish to take anything away from his close friends and family. I simply knew him through his often brilliant and usually funny work, and his public persona of a down-to-earth person who was consistently pleasant and friendly.

Composers Ted Hearne, far left, and Caroline Shaw, far right, were in the chorus for a performance of Matt Marks'

Composers Ted Hearne, far left, and Caroline Shaw, far right, were in the chorus for a performance of Matt Marks’ “The Little Death: Vol. 1” at Galapagos in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood in 2010, with Marks and Mellissa Hughes in the lead roles. (© 2010, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Marks had only begun to reveal the full extent of his ability. He’s a composer who always held a special place in my heart because I got to see him and his work early on and watch him grow and blossom.

R.I.P. Matt Marks.

WATCH: The Beatles’ “Revolution No. 9,” arranged by Matt Marks:

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In confronting fear of her past, Elk City’s Renée LoBue has written some of her most personal and revealing songs ever [Video]

Elk City performs at Rent Party in Maplewood, New Jersey, on Feb. 23, 2018. (Photo © 2018, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Elk City performs at Rent Party in Maplewood, New Jersey, on Feb. 23, 2018. (Photo © 2018, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

When Elk City’s Renée LoBue and I started talking back in November 2016 about the songs she had written for the band’s first new album since 2010’s “House of Tongues,” I never imagined the conversation would continue for more than a year before that album materialized.

But it did take that long. And the new collection, “Everybody’s Insecure,” released March 16 on Hoboken’s Bar/None Records, was well worth the wait.

Post continues below video


Renée LoBue of Elk City performs at Rent Party in Maplewood, New Jersey, on Feb. 23, 2018. (Photo © 2018, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Renée LoBue of Elk City performs at Rent Party in Maplewood, New Jersey, on Feb. 23, 2018. (Photo © 2018, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

With LoBue’s cooperation and permission, and the help of her longtime collaborator Ray Ketchem, I was able to distill our dialogue over those many months into an article that reveals the difficult personal journey she took to confront and address her past in song.

Read the full interview by CLICKING HERE, on northjersey.com.

Molly Erin Sarlé: Mountain Man to tour again, but not until next year [Videos]

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Mountain Man at the 2010 Solid Sound Festival, North Adams, Massachusetts. (Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

If your hopes were dashed when Mountain Man did only a one-off reunion set this summer despite strong hints from the long-dormant trio earlier this year suggesting something much more extensive might be in the works, take note!

The trio is will do a full tour, but not until 2018, Mountain Man member Molly Erin Sarlé says.

She broke the news to a fan during a conversation after her opening set for Big Thief at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sept. 11.

Sarlé said she and her band mates had “so much fun” doing their set at the Eaux Claires festival in June, that they have agreed to do a tour next year.

Click through to the jump for videos and more. Continue reading

NEW VIDEO: Drink a little ‘Kool Aid’ with The Lords of Liechtenstein

The Lords of Liechtenstein perform with Austin Hughes, left, of M. Shanghai, at Jalopy in Red Hook, Brooklyn, on Dec. 6, 2014. (Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

The Lords of Liechtenstein’s Rauchwerk brothers perform with Austin Hughes, left, of M. Shanghai, at Jalopy in Red Hook, Brooklyn, on Dec. 6, 2014. (Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

You can accuse New Jersey-born, Brooklyn-based band The Lords of Liechtenstein of a lot of things, including having questionable fashion taste (I have just three words: Argyle. Sweater. Vests.) and possessing endless charm, humor, and musical talent.

But you could never call the folky band — brothers and Holmdel, New Jersey, natives Dan and Noah Rauchwerk and three band mates — subtle.

The new video for “Kool Aid,” from their latest album, “Downhill Ride to Joyland,” is a perfect example.

Their team describes it this way:

Their new unreleased music video “Kool Aid” was inspired by cult leader Jim Jones and is meant to be a satirical take on the power that charismatic figures hold over us. The video translates that theme to the present day and is critical of how such leaders cause us to accept poisonous ideologies. “Drink the kool aid.”

But let’s just say they seem to have a someone much, much more contemporary than Jim Jones in mind as the inspiration for this video. (Clue: Pay attention to the wording on the paper cups! If that doesn’t make it clear, I have just one word for you: SAD!)

Watch and enjoy here:

If you like what you see and hear and want to see the Lords live, your next opportunity in the New York City area will be Wednesday, Oct. 18, at the Schimmel Center in Manhattan, in support of Uncle Bonsai. They’ll be at The Turning Point in Piermont, New York, on Sunday, Dec. 10, performing on a 4 p.m. bill with The Levins. Check out their full schedule on Facebook.

 

 

Jamie Block and Caroline Doctorow: Longtime friends forge musical partnership at Union Arts Center Saturday

Caroline Doctorow and Jamie Block

Caroline Doctorow and Jamie Block

Caroline Doctorow considers herself a classic folksinger.

Jamie Block‘s a product of the Anti-Folk revolution.

You might not think they’d have a lot in common, but if you want to find out how these two artists manage to walk their separate paths without losing sight of each other, check them out in a rare Rockland County concert appearance at Sparkill’s Union Arts Center on Saturday, March 19.

What you’re likely find is that it’s a natural pairing — they’ve been friends and mutual admirers for a quarter century

The pair spent a little time with Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? the other day to talk about their friendship , Doctorow begins recounting how she met Block.

“I think I met Jamie when,” she began, only to be interrupted off by Block — as he had warned he probably would wind up doing.

IF YOU GO

What: Caroline Doctorow and Jamie Block in concert

When: 8 p.m., Saturday, March 19

Where: Union Arts Center, 2 Union Ave., Sparkill, New York

Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door. GO HERE TO BUY ONLINE. More info at info@unionartscenter.com or 845-359-0258

Interview continues after the jump. Continue reading

Surreal ‘City of Glass’ leaps from novel to New York stage

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Playwright Edward Einhorn, left, and novelist Paul Auster on the set for “City of Glass” at the New Ohio Theatre. (Photo by Gil Sperling)

If playwright Edward Einhorn hadn’t been able to think like a gumshoe, he never would have gotten permission to make a theater adaptation of Brooklyn novelist Paul Auster‘s “City of Glass” — one of the best, and most surreal, detective-style novels of the last half century.

But luck and persistence were on the 45-year-old Einhorn’s side, who used his amateur detective skills to put himself and his idea in front of the 69-year-old author.

“I sought out Paul,” he tells Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? in an exclusive telephone interview.

“I found out where he was going to be and I approached him about doing it. To my pleasure he was interested and very responsive. … I figured I would talk to him for a minute or two and just introduce the idea. I wasn’t going to take up too much of his time. But he actually pursued it with a lot more questions and we talked about it longer than expected.

“He seemed very open to the idea.”

“City of Glass,” published in 1986, was the first of three short novels in Auster’s “New York Trilogy.” It tells a surreal story of Daniel Quinn, a writer, who gets a call from someone who thinks he’s a private detective named Paul Auster. The chance call launches a surreal, only-in-New-York narrative that raises questions about sanity, identity, and reality.

It was an instant cult hit and catapulted Auster into literary superstardom at age 39.

Video and ticket discount code after the jump.

0c3bd712-2080-4b39-9585-b594aa2a0459 Continue reading

Glenn Kotche revisited: Spectaculs in concert with So Percussion

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Glenn Kotche

I have to confess that Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche‘s forays into New Music were beginning to rub me the wrong way.

Maybe it was the Delta faucet commercial that set me on edge. I can’t say for sure.

But it had begun to feel to me that he was trying far too hard to prove that he’s not just the drummer in one of the world’s best rock bands. He seemed to be crying out to be taken seriously as a percussionist with depth and breadth as well as great rock chops.

His most recent serious album, “Adventureland” (Cantaloupe Music, 2014), is well done and pleasant, but for some reason it never really grabbed me. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to appreciate it.

When I got the opportunity to attend a concert on Saturday in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall the featured some of his work,  I decided to open my ears again.

I’m glad I did. Kotche’s work was a big part of what made the evening a spectacular musical event.

The evening opened with some older work — four selections from his 2011 Drumkit Quartets — performed by So Percussion (Eric Cha-Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting) alone.

So  Percussion clearly had an enormous amount of fun with the compositions. All of them featured a wide array of drums and myriad other percussion. The first, “Drumkit Quartet #50 (Leffinge, Chicago), kicked off with each member of the ensemble playing a hand-cranked siren, while the third, “Drumkit Quartet #51 (Tokyo, Brisbane, Berlin),” featured Japanese rock band Cibo Matto‘s Yuka Honda (who is married to Wilco guitarist Nels Cline) reciting haiku.

It’s no surprise that So  Percussion knew the pieces well, as the ensemble has recorded a “Drumkit Quartets” album due out Feb. 26 on Cantaloupe.

Kotche joined the ensemble for the world premiere of “Migrations,” a Carnegie Hall commission, that testified dramatically to Kotche’s admiration for minimalist composer Steve Reich with rhythms playfully produced on marimbas struck with fingertips and combs.

A hard-driving “Drumkit Quartet #1,” featuring a strobe-like animated film by Patrick Burns, closed the Kotche section of the show in memorable fashion.

The evening also featured a short piece by composer Steven Mackey, “Before It Is Time,” sung by Shara Worden, a performer and composer who works in rock and New Music like Kotche. (She performs in the rock world as My Brightest Diamond), in its New York premiere.

A 45-minute Worden song cycle, “Timeline” — commissioned jointly by Carnegie Hall and the University of Texas at Austin — closed out the evening. Worden sang and, at times played the guitar, a distracting move that took the focus off of the rhythms and interesting tonal qualities of the percussion, which included a mean steel drum number played by Quillen.