AMN Reviews: David Grubbs – Now that the audience is assembled [Duke U Press: 2018]

An improvised music performance is a celebration of the contingent. It is a unique and telling way of being in a particular environment with all that that means in terms of the accidental qualities that come together to make it what it is, at this given moment: its physical makeup; the possibilities it offers and hindrances it threatens; the stimulation or indifference it inspires in us; and above all the presence of others within it. David Grubbs’ new book, the long poem “Now that the audience is assembled,” is an imaginative way of showing what it is like to confront these accidental facts and somehow make them into a work.

Now that the audience is assembled tells the story of a particular performance of experimental music. The musician, who plays an invented instrument she first must put together, is to work from a verbal score that begins “Compose a gesture that can be repeated.” While the music isn’t entirely improvised it virtually is so; there is a composer here, but one whose presence and role is, as Grubbs describes it in the poem’s Afterword, “vestigial.” Grubbs seems not primarily concerned about such theoretical matters as the relationship between composition and improvisation in largely indeterminate scores, or the relative contributions of composer and performer. He seems instead more interested in describing a performance from the inside—as something that a given person experiences in a concrete way. In fact the music itself plays a relatively minor role in the poem’s narrative; what comes to the forefront are the inner and outer experiences of performance and the way that they interpenetrate each other in the sensibilities of the people involved. Grubbs’ narrative voice moves between first- and third-person perspectives, but even when he writes from an external point of view, he shows what it’s like to be in the midst of the cluster of events and factors that, taken together, are the full experience of performing an improvised set: the set up and preparation of instruments and space; the ebb and flow of audience attentiveness; the interactions of the musician, the composer, an assistant, and the audience members who themselves temporarily become performers; and most engagingly, the musician’s emotional responses to the situation around her and the drift of her thoughts as the evening progresses.

Grubbs presents all this with a narrative immediacy that itself seems to coexist with the moment it describes. In truth, though, the book was carefully crafted over a long period of time—it’s a multi-year reflection on the kind of experience that takes place in real time and that can’t be gone back over and edited in the interest of finding the most felicitous way of meeting a momentary demand. Fortunately, Grubbs worked under no such time-bound constraints, and the result is a work that combines the directness of an actual improvisation with the well-chosen language afforded by after-the-fact reflection.

http://www.dukeupress.edu

Daniel Barbiero

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Boat Burning, Chris Forsyth, and East Ghost in DC April 26

THU 4/26 at DC9 – Incendiary guitarist Chris Forsyth and his Solar Motel Band join DC’s BOAT BURNING and East Ghost for an evening of ferocious, luminous electric guitar.

BOAT BURNING (DC)
Melding elements of classical music and punk, Boat Burning is a DC-based experimental music collective that plays “maximum minimalism,” an intricate hybrid of composition and improvisation where simple passages played by a host of guitars — sometimes 100 or more — produce shimmering towers of stacked harmonics. The result is majestic, powerful music that combines the panoramic sweep of classical with the sheer physical thrall of punk.
Boat Burning includes founder Andras Fekete, Norm Veenstra (TONE), Geordie Grindle (TEEN IDLES, TONE), , Jon Matis (DC Improvisers Collective (DCIC)), Robin Diamond (Triangle Rhysing: Music for Massed Guitars), and Mark Sherman.
CHRIS FORSYTH & THE SOLAR MOTEL BAND (Philadelphia)
Chris Forsyth is a lauded guitarist and composer whose work assimilates art-rock textures with vernacular American influences. Long active in underground circles, he’s recently released a string of acclaimed records of widescreen guitar rock, and in 2013, he assembled The Solar Motel Band, who have quickly developed a reputation as an incredible live act, provoking ecstatic comparisons to visionary artists such as Television, The Grateful Dead, Popol Vuh, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, and Richard Thompson.
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EAST GHOST (DC)
From Washington DC, East Ghost combines influences of jazz, blues, ambient and melodic rock to explore themes of distance, distortion, and loss of connection. The band released their first EP “St. Elizabeths” in 2012, a single “Tobacco Teeth” in 2013, and an album “If I Sleep” in 2014. After a short haitus in 2016, East Ghost is back, with a new lineup and a noisier new sound.

Creative Music Studio Spring Performances

Source: Creative Music Studio.

April 21, 2018, EL TALLER, NYC
CMS IMPROVISERS ORCHESTRA, conducted by BILLY MARTIN and KARL BERGER, presents “AFRO NUYORICAN ECLIPSE,” featuring legendary Nuyorican poets Sandra Maria Esteves, Jésus Papoleto Meléndez, Celidad de la Luz aka La Bruja, Ashley August plus legendary musicians Arturo O’Farril, Frank London and an all-star orchestra. Download Press Release Purchase Tickets

May 26, 2018, EL TALLER, NYC
CMS IMPROVISERS ORCHESTRA conducted by PETER APFELBAUM & KARL BERGER, featuring Daniel Moreno, Awa Sangho and Ingrid Sertso.

June 23, 2018, EL TALLER, NYC
CMS IMPROVISERS ORCHESTRA conducted by STEVEN BERNSTEIN & KARL BERGER, featured artists TBA.

This Week in New York 

English: Brooklyn bridge at night, New York ci...

Source: I CARE IF YOU LISTEN.

YUKO FUJIYAMA ENSEMBLE: ALBUM RELEASE CELEBRATION
After a 15-year hiatus, pianist Yuko Fujiyama returns to Roulette to perform with her new quartet and celebrate the release of their new album, Night Wave.
Monday, April 16 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $20
Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

ENCOUNTERS | LOOK + LISTEN FESTIVAL
WQXR Terrance McKnight will host two sets at The Drawing Center. Saxophonist and composer Ingrid Laubrock and vibraphonist and composer Joel Ross will improvise two sets in response to artwork by Terry Winters in the Terry Winters: Facts and Fictions exhibit in the main gallery.
Thursday, April 19 at 6:00 PM & 7:30 PM
Free
Drawing Center, 35 Wooster St, New York, NY

FREDERIC RZEWSKI | COMPOSER PORTRAITS
Though American composer Frederic Rzewski is best known for his scores responding to social and political uprisings around the world, one of his earliest pieces was of a more familiar variety—a string quartet, composed when he was just 17 years old. Now approaching 80, Rzewski is still composing. For his second appearance on the Composer Portraits series, Miller Theatre highlights this very early work, followed by the world premiere of Rzewski’s latest string quartet, co-commissioned for the occasion.
Thursday, April 19 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $20-$30
Miller Theatre, 2960 Broadway, New York, NY

ECCE AND COURT-CIRCUIT: FRENCH/AMERICAN MUSIC IN DIALOGUE
ECCE and Court-Circuit join forces to present works by Christophe Bertrand, Philippe Hurel, David Felder, Philippe Leroux, and John Aylward. The ensembles themselves will present smaller chamber works featuring members of each ensemble. Then, Maestro Jean Deroyer from Court-circuit will lead the combined ensembles in performances of Philippe Hurel’s Figures Libre and the world premiere of John Aylward’s Narcissus.
Thursday, April 19 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $15
Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

TUNED SQUARED | ART OF SOUND
Melissa Grey will direct a performance of Pauline Oliveros’s Tuning Meditation (1971), a vocal improvisation beginning with a single pitch, at the site of Max Neuhaus’s sound installation Times Square (1977). The installation exposes a rich, harmonic sound texture of the resonance of the Square’s underground tunnel junction, which would otherwise remain unheard.
Friday, April 20 at 7:30 PM
Free
Times Square, 46th and Broadway pedestrian island, New York, NY

YARN/WIRE PLAYS ICEBERG
Yarn/Wire will premiere works by ICEBERG composers Victor Baez, Alex Burtzos, Derek Cooper, Max Grafe, and Emily Praetorius. Also on the program is a work by a winner of ICEBERG’s second call for scores. Like every ICEBERG event, this concert features an open bar happy hour beginning at 7:30, and a discussion with the composers and performers after the show.
Friday, April 20 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $10-$20
Tenri Cultural Institute, 43 West 13th Street, New York, NY

A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN: NADIA BOTELLO’S SONO/AQUA | MATA FESTIVAL
This concert will be a truly immersive event. The audience, having passed through stages of listening from the audible to the vibrational, will be invited to enter a sonified pool to become one with sound: generating, altering, and ultimately becoming sound incarnate.
Saturday, April 21 at 6:30 PM
Tickets $25
Imagine Swimming, 40 Harrison Street, New York, NY

ANDPLAY + KYLWYRIA
andPlay (Maya Bennardo, violin, and Hannah Levinson, viola) and Kylwyria (Erica Dicker, violin, Julia Den Boer, piano and John Gattis, horn) perform works by Alvin Lucier, Nicholas DeMaison, and Christian Wolff along with world premieres by Leah Asher, Bethany Younge, and Viola Yip.
Saturday, April 21 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $15, $10 students
Areté Venue and Gallery,67 West Street #103, Brooklyn, New York

PERIMETERS | LOOK + LISTEN FESTIVAL
Cellist Mariel Roberts performs Davíð Brynjar Franzson’s Cartography of Time and Patchtax will perform the New York premieres of the winning works from their recent call for scores to composers who identify themselves as marginalized, with original works by Sofia Scheps, Evelin Ramón, and Rosalie Burell. Mellissa Hughes and Philip White will perform their original takes on selections from The Great American Songbook. The program will include improvisations by performing duo Peter Evans and Levi Lorenzo with special guests Dan Peck and percussionist Dennis Sullivan. Mellissa Hughes will also perform the 2018 Composers Competition winning piece by Doug Balliett, Ozymadius.
Saturday, April 21 at 8:00 PM
Free
The Invisible Dog Art Center, 51 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY

PACIFIC SYMPHONY
Philip Glass’s season-long Carnegie Hall residency concludes with a Carnegie Hall debut by the Pacific Symphony by commemorating the composer’s famous collaborations with the legendary Ravi Shankar. The program includes Glass’s “Meetings Along the Edge” from Passages, a piece based on a theme written by Shankar, as well as the New York premiere of The Passion of Ramakrishna, a work honoring the Hindu holy man, which was originally co-commissioned, premiered, and recorded by the orchestra. Shankar’s daughter, Anoushka Shankar, takes center stage as soloist in her father’s Concerto No. 3 for Sitar and Orchestra.
Saturday, April 21 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $16.50-$90
Carnegie Hall, 881 7th Avenue, New York, NY

THE CHELSEA SYMPHONY
The Chelsea Symphony performs John Luther Adams’s Become Ocean on Earth Day at the American Museum of Natural History.
Sunday, April 22 at 2:00 PM
Included with museum admission
American Museum of Natural History, Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY

INTO THE HOT, OUT OF THE COOL | KIT FITZGERALD AND PETER GORDON
Long-standing collaborative duo Peter Gordon (keyboard, sax, electronics) and Kit Fitzgerald (video) present Into the Hot, Out of the Cool. The performance will feature large-scale video paintings by Fitzgerald accompanied by a six-piece musical ensemble directed by Gordon. Fitzgerald’s visual imagery will include video drawings, animations, and camera imagery—mixed and processed live—combining early analog and current digital technology.
Sunday, April 22 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $20
Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY