Ed. note: Here’s hoping you all have a great time ringing in the New Year. Thanks to Guy (Vimeo /YouTube) fromthe Metro Gallery, you can also reflect back on a great night of live music from 2009: our fall showcase headlined by So Percussionthis fall. Unfortunately, Microkingdom’sset was lost due to technical malfunction.
It also bears mentioning that the line-up has expanded since our initial announcement to include two more sets. One features the premiere of a piece by local composers Adam Holofcener and Jeff Zeiders. The other is a True Vine power trio of sorts featuring Jason Willett (Leprechaun Catering, Pleasant Livers, Half Japanese), Martin Schmidt (Matmos), and Owen Gardner (Black Vatican, Janitor, ex-Teeth Mountain). Some more, press-release-y details on them after the jump.
So we’ve got a show coming up with So Percussion on Oct 28th. Here’s a sneak peek. The So guys were down teaching at Peabody in late September and took some time to shoot a performance of Steve Reich’s Drumming Part 1 in a Percussion studio with us and Polygon Tree, curator behind the web-show An Hour of Kindness. Enjoy and be amazed.
Aural States presents So Percussion, Microkingdom, Gestures, more TBA at the Metro Gallery on Wed Oct 28th
(BALTIMORE, MD — Sept 14 2009) — Defining the boundaries of what we know as music and classifying its endless offspring are both ever-evolving, vital enterprises. In celebration of this constant growth, Aural States has brought together musicians who we feel excel at making music a malleable and dynamic entity through bold experimentation. We are proud to present So Percussion, Microkingdom, and Gestures at the Metro Gallery on October 28th 2009 in the Station North Arts District of Baltimore.
Brooklyn-based quartet So Percussion take up the cause of showing the world that percussion is much more than a primitive means to an end, expanding far beyond drums laying down beats. Lauded as “revelatory” (David Lang), “brilliant” and “consistently impressive” (The New York Times), and “astonishing and entrancing” (Billboard Magazine), their genre-bending work has lead to collaborations with innovative musicians like Dan Deacon and Matmos, with whom years of work will bear fruit in a late Spring 2010 release on Cantaloupe Records. They’ve prepared bracing performances of pieces from visionary composers such as David Lang, Steve Reich, John Cage and Iannis Xenakis, as well as crafting their own compositions. Their music has taken them around the globe to stages and audiences of all shapes and sizes, from the Lincoln Center Festival to Carnege Hall, the Kennedy Center, and even Whartscape 2009 at the Baltimore Museum of Art where they performed excerpts from Steve Reich’s Drumming. This summer, So created an annual summer institute at Princeton University consisting of an intensive two-week chamber music seminar for college percussionists.
In their only Baltimore/DC area performance, in an unusually intimate venue, So will perform works from Steve Reich, their 2006 album Amid the Noise, and their latest original work entitled Imaginary City, which has its world premiere just a few weeks before as a commission for the 2009 BAM Next Wave Festival.
The trio known as Microkingdom’s Pro Hour is one of Baltimore’s avant-garde powerhouses. Its members hold pedigree second to none: guitarist Marc Miller of math rock pranksters Oxes, percussion whiz and composer Will Redman, and the musically polyamorous John Dierker’s fierce reeds. Playing “sinuous, powerfully dynamic improvisations” (The Wire) or self-described “No Jazz,” Microkingdom have been called “dynamic, challenging, confident” (Pitchfork). Over the past couple of years Microkingdom has played shows with: Wzt Heart, Ecstatic Sunshine, Thank You, Singer, Food For Animals, Daniel Higgs, These Are Powers, Jack Wright, White Mice, Talibam!, Peter Brotzmann, Pontiak, Extra Life, The Homosexuals, and many others. They’ve also self released color vinyl Wrenches: My Heart/Double Abacus as well as putting out the CD-R EP Spectacular Edges on Human Conduct. This fall will see them playing Brooklyn-based Death By Audio’s You Are Here: The Maze installation and performance festival in late September.
Gestures’ “shambolic drums-n-brass band” was named D.C.’s “Second-Best Use of Air Pressure” by Washington City Paper’s Best of D.C. 2009. A horn and drum collective consisting of tuba, trombone, saxophone, clarinet, and two drum kits, think manic marching band meets frantic free-jazz structures and you’ve got a pretty close approximation of their sound. Fascinating and brazen blasts of dissonance test and probe the limits of your endurance while simultaneously forming vivid mental images and narratives like some crazed sonic bard, drunkenly dragging off-kilter harmonies out of entropy. Gestures’ debut EP Nice will be out soon.
My Whartscapedidn’t start until the third quarter of the evening’s festivities at the BMA. As far as Friday goes, some ludicrous logistical issues had me caught up until nine o’clock when the original plan was to arrive shortly after noon. Here’s a short rundown of what I caught on Friday Night. Greg also popped in, and was there for a significant portion of the daytime. All photos are his, and his segments will be in yellow.
The day was gorgeous on the steps of the BMA. The trappings serene, with hanging greenery framing the walls of the museum behind the performers.
I was very excited to see Black Vatican, but they seemed a bit lost in this setting. Their music didn’t really connect for me. Their spaced out garage jams felt small, tinny and overprocessed, like bits of metal rattling around a tin can.
Wye Oak however, performed a riveting, ascendant set while being dressed to impress. They confidently lead off with a brand new track followedby a pair of tracks off The Knot and one from debut If Children showing off their new level of epic layering and big sound. Keep an eye out for my review of The Knot. I say without hesitation or reservation that it is easily one of my favorite albums of the past decade.
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