Brooklyn Rail Highly Selective Music Events
By the Editors
- May 3: Man Forever at the Brooklyn Museum. As part of this year’s Red Bull Music Academy Festival, drummer Kid Millions leads a group of 20 musicians in the debut of “100 Disciplines,” a piece that draws from Millions’s experiences in New York as a place of both “inspiration and overwhelming difficulty.”
- May 6: Synth Nights at the Kitchen. You are reading our electronic music issue, and now that your curiosity is stimulated, check out one of the leading, in-depth, electronic music series in New York. This concert features Helado Negro, and a new piece called Private Energy. Negro has set the mysterious goal of exploring “false psychic healing.”
- May 7 - 9: Tectonics Festival New York. A welcome return for this festival that mixes together masterpieces of the post-WWII classical avant-garde with composers and musicians who have carried those values into other genres—the downtown ideal in action. There is music from Klaus Lang, who is heard too infrequently in New York, multimedia eminence David Behrman, Julius Eastman, Barbara Monk Feldman, and a performance of the latest installment of Nate Wooley’s coruscating Seven Storey Mountain.
- May 8: Anti-Social Music + Scorpion vs Snake at Ibeam. Come for the new music from Pat Muchmore, Ed RosenBerg, and the duo of accordionist Nathan Koci and cellist/singer Emily Hope Price, then keep coming back all month. Ibeam should be your first choice if you want to hear the best of new jazz and new music, want to stay in the cozy confines of Brooklyn, and don’t want to bust your wallet on drink minimums. A nightly $15 suggested donation gets you a three-day residency from Deric Dickens (May 28 - 30), Connie Crothers (May 11), Vinny Golia (May 23), and much more.
- May 8: David Torn at SubCulture. If you must go to Manhattan to hear music this night, go see guitarist David Torn, who has a new ECM release, only sky, that comes at you in waves of enveloping, seductive sound, then shows you an enthralling and slightly scary crack in the universe. Torn indeed.
- May 10: Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society at The Bell House. Argue has managed the amazing feat of making the jazz big band hip and relevant again. His is, arguably, the finest composer working in jazz today, and has been recently honored by both the Doris Duke and Guggenheim foundations. His music and the band he leads kick ass, it will drive any lingering effects of Whiplash out of your head.
- May 13 - 17: Queens New Music Festival. Presented by Random Access Music, one of the things that has been making Queens cool steps into the big time this year, with appearances by the Kronos Quartet and Face the Music, and a John Luther Adams Portrait concert—Lost Dog New Music Ensemble will play Four Thousands Holes, The Light Within, and Make Prayers to the Raven. Despite JLA’s growing popularity, it is still hard to find the chance to hear his music live. Carpe Queens New Music Festival.
- May 14: Musical Ecologies—Amy X Neuburg at The Old Stone House. One of our favorite music series present Amy X Neuberg, a singer and composer who makes the most sophisticated, abstracted cabaret music you’ve ever heard, or the hippest classical music you’ve ever heard. Take your pick.
- May 14 - 16: The New York Philharmonic & Warner Bros. Present Bugs Bunny at the Symphony. A guilty pleasure? Eye and ear candy? Perhaps, but these Looney Tunes scores, prepared by the brilliant composer Carl Stalling, amount to some of the greatest, and certainly most entertaining, post-modernism of 20th century music.
- May 22: Omar Souleyman at (le) Poisson Rouge. The staggeringly prolific—over 500 studio releases to his name—Syrian-born singer brings together a wide array of musical traditions, Arabic, Iraqi, Kurdish, and Turkish among them. Souleyman’s voice sits at the center of a disorienting swirl of pitch-shifted synths and club beats, a calm eye in a captivating storm.
- May 22: Brian Carpenter’s Ghost Train Orchestra at Jalopy. The best in modern old-timey music, this terrific, unclassifiable band has a new disc coming out—with guest Colin Stetson swinging, no less—and there’s no better space in New York City than Jalopy.
- May 28: Neil Hagerty, PC Worship at Baby’s All Right. As David Berman once sang, “I wish I had a thousand bucks / I wish I was the Royal Trux.” Neil Hagerty was one half of Royal Trux, which makes this at least a five hundred dollar bill, right? PC Worship and Sore Eros fill things out.
- May 29 - 30: Matana Roberts’s Coin Coin: The Remix at the Kitchen. Whether its curating shows at Trans-Pecos or performing In C alongside other NYC scene heavies at (le) Poisson Rouge last fall, alto saxophonist and composer Matana Roberts wears many hats. A two-night residency at the Kitchen commemorates five years since the release of the first installment of her ongoing Coin Coin series. Coin Coin: The Remix presents the latest release in the series, River Run Thee, and features percussionist Tomas Fujiwara and video work by Daniel Marcellus Givens; a discussion will follow each evening’s performance.
- May 30: John Zorn’s Sacred Visions at the Cloisters. “The paragon of the ‘downtown’ musician” keeps going further uptown. Not content to see his works performed throughout the main building of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Zorn premieres a new work, The Remedy of Fortune, composed specifically for the Fuentidueña Chapel at the Cloisters. JACK Quartet will perform the work; also on the bill are Pandora’s Box and The Holy Visions.