music: March 2011 Archives

very sharp

I'm not sure what we're in for tomorrow (April 1), but when I heard Elliott Sharp and Steve Horowitz were involved, I was already half there.

Over three days this weekend, beginning with a Sharp-curated evening of performance on Friday at 8 pm, the Electronic Music Foundation (EMF) is presenting what it calls "The Extended Piano Festival: Works for the Disklavier." It looks like the music, in addition to its considerable performance art elements, may be accompanied by a certain amount of visual art throughout the Festival.

Some of the other names in the press release include, but are not limited to, Claudio Ambrosini, Dan Becker, Anthony Coleman, Nicolas Collins, Michael Evans, Fred Frith, Annie Gosfield, Seth Horvitz, Dafna Natali, Veniero Rizzardi, Frank Rothkamm, Carl Stone, and Hans Tammen.

Many of these have works being performed tomorrow (and/or will be performing it themselves), including Sharp, R. Luke DuBois, Jenny Lin, Stefano Bassanese, Viniero Rizzardi, Miya Masaoka, Pamela Z, Nicolas Collins, and Lukas Ligeti.

Steve Horowitz, has the space pretty much to himself (and the Disklavier) for a CD release performance the next night, Saturday.

Meanwhile, during daylight hours on Saturday and Sunday (April 2 and 3) people will be able to visit "a body of installed works for the Disklavier" curated by Sharp and Horowitz, composed or "performed" by Claudio Ambrosini, Dan Becker, Anthony Coleman, Diego Dall'Osto, Carl De Pirro, Fred Frith, Annie Gosfield, Seth Horvitz, Dafna Naphtali, Veniero Rizzardi, Frank Rothkamm, Carl Stone, Paulo Troncon and Hans Tammen.

I have to thank a good number of the artists whose names I've mentioned above for finally pulling me to New York from Providence in the 1980s; the other half may have been born after I arrived, and for that none of us can take any responsibility. By 1985 I had already assembled a huge collection of recordings by the giants of what at that time I and others called New York "downtown music," or "noise music." There was also the designation, "experimental music," but none of these terms seemed to help much when it came time to approach a record store's bins. When I moved to Manhattan I was shocked to often find myself sitting (sometimes standing) in live performances where there might be as few as ten other people in the audience - this when I might have half a dozen of that performer's records at home - and everyone but me seemed to be a musician and friend of the performer(s)!

All Festival performances and music installations are at White Box, 329 Broome St. Yes, the music is still pretty much downtown.

For more information, go to EMF or White Box.

The Dependent, where boundaries blurred (here the New York Fine Arts room)

I've found my art fair. "Armory Arts Week" worked this year: Institutions often don't age any better than people, and maybe the secret of life for old art shows is in the spawning of the new.

The Armory Show itself was, well, armorial, although there were pockets of real humanity.

Independent, which was such a hit last year on its first outing, was definitely more cerebral than both the Armory itself and even its own first manifestation. But there was little eye candy or energy, and it felt surprisingly stiff and corporate. I'm certain many individual conceptual projects would open up if only I could hang around some more, but on a frustratingly-short weekend of compelling attractions there's almost never enough time.

Speaking of candy, Daniel Reich hosted a modest, slightly roguish party inside his gallery on Friday afternoon. A salute to the 60s and the current gallery installation, Jack Early's Ear Candy Machine, it included continuous live music performances. it will probably remain one of my personal highlights of the week, and only partly for its odd folksy character (and Daniel's inimitable conversation).

The Dependent was the event I had most anticipated since I first heard about it, and I wasn't disappointed. Last night the Gramercy Fair (The Gramercy International Contemporary Art Fair), the 1994 progenitor of the modern Armory Show, was resurrected for a few hours. This was no sterile reproduction however, but a brilliant, exciting original. On the basis of the magic created last night, may have already created its own legend. It was "let's put on a show," and the results were pretty compelling, beginning with the contagious enthusiasm of the crowds on both sides of the "proscenium," and continuing through the marvelous blur of boundaries between art, environment, artists, viewers and listeners. The dozen or so exhibitors were given one hour to arrange their installations inside an equivalent number of smallish rooms (inside the Sheraton Hotel on West 25th Street) before the doors were opened at 4 pm. The show was supposed to end five hours later, but the crowds were still lined up outside when we left at nine o'clock.

This page is an archive of entries in the music category from March 2011.

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