Wolf Eyes’ Always Wrong Reviewed

Pitchfork reviews this relatively new release.

Wolf Eyes long ago internalized buzzing static, piercing screams, and crashing cacophony– basic elements as essential to the band’s vocabulary as finger picking is to John Fahey‘s, or violin drone is to Tony Conrad‘s. In fact, the most impressive thing about the band at this point in their career is how instantly identifiable their unruly noise is. Reference points remain, such as the industrial bombast of Throbbing Gristle, the gothic dirge of Swans, and the sheer extremity of Whitehouse. But Wolf Eyes now speak their own language exclusively.

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A new music festival brings what Boston isn’t hearing

The Boston new music scene is profiled.

But there is a lot more new music under the sun – including an entire world of viscerally charged contemporary concert works that draw inspiration from improvised traditions, minimalism, popular or folk music. This other music doesn’t have a single name, but it’s clear that it’s not thriving here. Performances of works by Steve Reich, John Adams, Louis Andriessen, Magnes Lindberg – hugely prominent composers with international reputations – still take on the whiff of forbidden fruit. Osvaldo Golijov, a Boston-based composer whose music taps into world-music genres from tango to klezmer, has a far bigger profile nationally than he does in his own hometown. A minimalist landmark like Terry Riley‘s “In C” draws a crowd barely larger than the group of performers on stage. I have heard exactly one work by John Zorn performed here in almost three years. And if you want to hear anything by the legions of younger composers and performers inspired by the various downtown traditions, the pickings are extremely slim.

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Fred Frith All-Star Birthday Concert

A bunch of pictures from Frith’s 60th.

This concert, billed as “The Music Of Fred Frith,” was presented as a celebration of Fred Frith’s 60th birthday this year, and took place at Mills College in Oakland CA on the Sunday afternoon of 5 April 2009. Featured were solo and ensemble improvisations, a Frith composition entitled “Water Stories” for chamber quintet, and Frith’s most recent rock quartet, Cosa Brava. It was a fine testament in performance to an artist who has been challenging, expanding and dissolving musical boundaries for forty years.

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Catching up with … Mills College’s Fred Frith

Fred Frith’s career as an educator is profiled:

Wreathed in early-morning fog, the Mills College campus in the Oakland hills looks like anything but the birthplace of experimental music.

But inside the Spanish colonial-style buildings on the 135-acre school – the first women’s college west of the Rockies – the Music Conservatory has for 80 years hosted the cream of the avant-garde.

Titanic talents have taught, performed and studied here, including Henry Cowell, John Cage, Lou Harrison and Darius Milhaud, electronic music pioneer Pauline Oliveros, minimalists Terry Riley and Steve Reich, and jazz innovator Roscoe Mitchell.

So it is pitch-perfect that the head of the department today is a musician who made his name in rock ‘n’ roll.

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Bang on a Can Marathon in DC Area

From Black Plastic Bag:

For the past few years, the annual Bang on a Can Marathon in New York City has had my mouth watering, juxtaposing performances of fascinating and often under-performed avant-garde classical music with shows by cutting-edge popular music performers (and generally blurring the line between these two categories). Last year’s festival, for instance, featured compositions by Harrison Birtwistle and Terry Riley alongside performances by Marnie Stern and Dan Deacon.

This Sunday, the D.C. area is in for a treat as a scaled-down version of the festival occupies the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center for an afternoon and evening (from 2pm until about 9pm). A free performance of Brian Eno’s famed Music For Airports is among the attractions, along with performances of compositions by Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche (some of which D.C. concertgoers may have seen when Kotche performed a solo set at the Black Cat back in 2006). A lengthy Terry Riley piece, with Riley himself on vocals and piano, closes out the event.

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Weirding Module, Trigal, Heavy Hymns, March 23 in Syracuse

From Metropolis Underground:

Weirding Module is former Wolf Eyes housemate Michael Troutman’s solo project made during every available moment of time when he’s not playing bass in the Detroit/Brooklyn psych-rock band, Awesome Color (on Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label) or skateboarding. The music is a heady delay-drenched mix of synthesizers and samples, heavily influenced by repetition (Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Tony Conrad, Throbbing Gristle, et. al.) and seasoned with some Tangerine Dream and dub reggae. Weirding Module’s first release was an American Tapes bootleg cassette for the No Fun Festival (NYC) in 2004. Other releases have followed on Troutman’s own Senseless Empire label, Ozonokids (Spain), Scumbag Relations (US) and Silver Ghosts (Netherlands). Since a recent European tour with UK noise icon, Family Battle Snake, Weirding Module has been back in the studio recording new material for a killer new year. Future releases are due on: Night People (US) and an LP on Ultra Eczema (Belgium).

Trigal (Juan A. D’Amico) is a solo artist from Barcelona, Spain. After playing for the last decade in hardcore punk bands, both in Spain and in Argentina, he has decided to now focus his energy on psychedelic music. Signs of both his South American roots and more recent, experimental German and Japanese influences can be heard throughout the soundscapes invoking images of madness.

Heavy Hymns is the solo projcect of New Thing Productions founder and American Sphinx’ Michael Hentz.

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An AAJ Interview with Larry Ochs

From All About Jazz:

Best known as a member of the Rova Saxophone Quartet, Mr. Ochs has recorded over two dozen albums in the past two decades plus with this ensemble. The material that Rova covers is diverse, challenging, and rewarding to both the band and listener alike, extending from raw, pure improvisation to complex composition (contributed by Mr. Ochs and band mates Steve Adams, Jon Raskin, Bruce Ackley in addition to Anthony Braxton, Tim Berne, John Carter, Muhal Richard Abrams, Jack DeJohnette, Barry Guy, Lindsay Cooper, Fred Frith, Robin Holcomb, Alvin Curran, and Terry Riley).

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Mills College Music Series Starts Today

saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell at the Pomigliano ...
Image via Wikipedia

If you’re in the Oakland area, stop by Mills:

Mills College will kick off opening night of its music series Saturday by honoring African-American performers and celebrating Black History Month.

The Mills Music Festival will feature pieces by Roscoe Mitchell, a leader in avant-garde jazz and contemporary music. They will be performed by Pauline Oliveros with Tony Martin; Terry Riley; Joseph Kubera and Joan Jeanrenaud.

The event, which runs through April, will be held inside the newly renovated Mills College Concert Hall. The music series will showcase cutting-edge contemporary musical performances that cross genres.

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Mills College Music Festival 2009

saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell at the Pomigliano ...
Image via Wikipedia

Interesting music coming up from Mills College in Oakland.

OPENING NIGHT: Pauline Oliveros with Tony Martin; Terry Riley; Joseph Kubera performs Roscoe Mitchell; Joan Jeanrenaud
Saturday, February 21, 2009 8:00 pm

Sunday, February 22, 2009 3:00 pm

Friday, February 27, 2009 8:00 pm

Saturday, February 28, 2009 8:00 pm

Sunday, March 8, 2009 3:00 pm

Sunday, April 5, 2009 3:00 pm

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Bang on a Can All-Stars in NY Reviewed

Terry Riley
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A recent BOAC performance gets reviewed.

Le Poisson Rouge, the West Village club that opened in the summer, has fast become one of the city’s main alternative spaces for classical music events, with many presented by the Wordless Music series, an inventive venture that programs rock, classical and indie music together.
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Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Terry Riley, left, and Evan Ziporyn of Bang on a Can All-Stars, at Le Poisson Rouge.

On Saturday a well-attended concert there by the Bang on a Can All-Stars — the genre-blurring group that meshes elements of jazz, rock, classical and world music — fell into the classical camp. But were it not for the music on the musicians’ stands, you might at times have assumed it was an impromptu jam session by the sextet of clarinet, cello, keyboards, electric guitar, bass and percussion.

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