Big Ears Festival Reviewed

English: Nels Cline @ All tomorrow's parties f...

Source: ARTnews.

At once site-specific and sprawling across a city that might strike some as a surprising home for an occasion of the kind, the annual Big Ears festival in Knoxville, Tennessee, reconsiders the terms by which experimental music can be presented to an eager, sophisticated audience compelled by seemingly errant tangents of art- and music-making. This year’s edition, the seventh, once again invited fans to traverse the pleasant streets of downtown Knoxville to assemble in a variety of venues, among them the historic Tennessee Theatre, a Depression-era show palace of Spanish-Moorish design; two different churches; and repurposed industrial spaces that included an old belt supply warehouse whose airy expanse offered stunning acoustics. In settings of the kind, festival-goers could listen and consider things like a morning-hour recital of music by Philip Glass or a Nels Cline pop-up gig signaled by a cell-phone alert.