Music

Weirdness, New and Old

In July of 1968, Vashti Bunyan and Robert Lewis set out on a journey. They travelled in an old Gypsy van pulled by a horse named Bess, their ultimate destination a proposed artist colony on three remote Scottish islands newly purchased by their friend Donovan, the Scottish singer of “Mellow Yellow” fame.

SHARON VAN ETTEN: Serendipity and Survival in Brooklyn

Sharon Van Etten’s New York story is serendipitous (a word she brought up multiple times to describe her trajectory) and could make a person jealous if it weren’t for her earnest and generous nature. When I caught up with her via phone she was running an errand somewhere in New Jersey in preparation for touring

ROOTS? WE CALL IT FILTHY LIVING
Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs at the Knitting Factory

Warning: this could happen to you. You are in a quiet bar or coffee shop talking with friends. During a bit of thoughtful discussion, you are caught unaware. Bearded white men have unexpectedly blocked your egress. They pick up guitars and begin awkwardly strumming a blues song.

ADVANCED CONCEPTS IN THE VOCAL ETHER
Quince Vocal Ensemble and Parias Ensemble

Avant-garde music continues to be a source of delight, especially when performed by talented new voices. In the Contagious Sound Series, curated by Vicky Chow and presented by Neke Carson at the Gershwin Hotel, a recent program of vocal music by Quince Vocal Ensemble

Outtakes

So I am sitting here listening to one of my new favorite CDs, from a band called Commitment. The music, originally recorded between 1980–83, includes a reissue from vinyl and selections from an unreleased live concert in Germany. The band consists of Jason Kao Hwang on violin, viola, and bird calls

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JUNE 2011

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