Brooklyn Rail Highly Selective Music Events
By the Editors
- February 5: L. Subramaniam at 92Y. The World Music Institute and 92Y present acclaimed Indian classical violinist L. Subramaniam, who will perform with his son Ambi Subramaniam, also a violinist, and mridangam player Mahesh Krishnamurthy as part of the Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival. Subramaniam’s playing draws from both Western classical music and the Carnatic classical music of southern India.
- February 10: Dawn of Midi at the Kitchen. This Brooklyn trio brings their absolutely unique brand of prepared piano/minimalism/jazz to this tidy concert space. They are at their best in a quiet and close listening environment, where each shifting accent and displaced note becomes a revelation inside their mesmerizing grooves.
- February 11: Contemporaneous presents “Laws of Nature” at Pioneer Works. The great shame from the classical world spending centuries ignoring women composers is that audiences lost out on the chance to hear exceptional music. Things are wildly and wonderfully different now, and this program from Contemporaneous is entirely made by women composers: a world premiere from Fjóla Evans, a multimedia work from Kate Moore, and while you may go to hear music from pop-harpist Joanna Newsom, you will leave with the unforgettable sounds of Anna Thorvaldsdottir in your ears.
- February 11: Musical Ecologies at the Old Stone House. This enterprising experimental music series continues with Ranjut Bahtnagar. Bahtnagar invents his own music instruments, and makes installations with them. At the Old Stone House, he’ll demonstrate some of his newest creations, do a live remix of web videos, perform a work using contact mics, and explore the world of micro-sounds. Many paths lead to an ecology of sound.
- February 14: TEEN at Union Pool. Brooklyn’s TEEN celebrate the release of their third record, Love Yes, with a Valentine’s Day show at Union Pool. For the past five years TEEN has been making danceable pop music dense with melancholy; if Wim Wenders were to shoot a remake of Wings of Desire in present-day Berlin, the club scene at the end would be at Berghain and feature TEEN instead of Nick Cave.
- February 15: Roy Nathanson’s Sotto Voce/Cornelius Eady and Rough and Ready at Cornelia Street Cafe. Words and music from Nathanson and Eady, poetry and jazz melded together in a way you’ve never heard. Musical, grooving, funny, sad, humane. This is a rare chance to hear two outstanding and unusual musicians.
- February 16 - 21: Darius Jones residency at the Stone. Jones is coming off his 2015 AUM Fidelity album, Le bébé de Brigitte (Lost in Translation), one of the singular jazz releases of the year. At the Stone, you’ll hear his biting attack and intelligence in acoustic and electric duos, trios, quartets, quintets, and everything else. Featured guest include Matthew Shipp, H’Prizm, Chad Yalor, and Nasheet Waits. Catch the Brigitte music at the late set, 2/19.
- February 17: Yo La Tengo and Alvin Lucier at the Ecstatic Music Festival. This could be transcendent or an awkward disaster. There’s only one way to find out.
- February 18: Eleanor Friedberger at Bowery Ballroom. With her third solo album, New View, out this past month, Friedberger no longer bills as half of the former Fiery Furnaces, but rather as a solo artist in her own right, dispensing with the Furnaces’ freneticism in favor of a more straightforward, melodic, guitar-driven rock sound.
- February 19: Girls on Grass at Bar Matchstick. Songwriter and guitarist Barbara Endes heads this straight-ahead roots rock quartet. As strong an argument as any for the enduring appeal of the hard-driving shuffle beat, the band features former Rail music editor and WFMU DJ Dave Mandl on bass. Hello, Dave.
- February 20 - March 5: Avant Music Festival 2016 at Wild Project. An annual immersion in some of the newest and most exciting thinking in contemporary music. And an immersion it will be: the opening performance is a ten hour experience, Day Trip, featuring fascinating young composer Adrian Knight and TIGUE. A week later, the festival present three John King “micro-operas,” with vocalists Joan La Barbara and Gelsey Bell, and the closing event will be the world premiere of Randy Gibson’s Apparitions of the Four Pillars …, a multi-hour drone and video work. And don’t forget to look into the ancillary “Tangents” concerts.
- February 23: Wrekmeister Harmonies at St. Vitus. Like 2014’s Then It All Came Down, Wrekmeister Harmonies’ latest work is an extended, layered piece rich with narrative and allusion. J.R. Robinson gathered thirty musicians to record Night of Your Ascension, and the result is as intellectually satisfying as it is terrifying. Live, Wrekmeister Harmonies will consist of Robinson, vocalist Esther Shaw, and bass and drums from Seattle doom duo Bell Witch, who will also play a set of its own.
- February 23: Momenta Quartet plays Julián Carrillo at the Americas Society. The Americas Society has an on-going concert series that has a modest profile but substantial musical ambitions. This looks to be a memorable program: in September Momenta played a fascinating microtonal string quartet by the obscure Mexican composer Carrillo, and now Momenta will play Carrillo’s entire body of work for the string quartet, in his personally unique microtonal style.
- February 23 and 24: Glenn Branca at the Kitchen. Glenn Branca and his ensemble perform The Third Ascension. The piece calls for electric guitars with alternate tunings and is a continuation of Branca’s 1981 work The Ascension.
- March 2: R. Andrew Lee at Roulette. Lee is one of the foremost pianists at the cutting edge of contemporary classical music, and hearing him in the the vaulted auditorium at Roulette will be its own reward. On top of that, he’ll be playing music from William Duckworth, presenting new ideas from one of our favorite composers, Michael Vincent Waller, and an evening-length piece from Adrian Knight. This should be one of the most memorable new music events of the year.
- March 4: Prince Rama at Baby’s All Right. Bonkers Brooklyn duo Prince Rama has a new album out next month, X-Treme Now, and is celebrating at Baby’s All Right. This is art rock in the age of the billion-dollar art market. To blurb this band is to compete with the unmatchable wackiness of its ever-mutating concept; you’re better served checking it out yourself.
- March 7: Jason Moran at the Park Avenue Armory. In the newly restored Veterans Room at the beautiful Armory, the great pianist Moran will inaugurate a new series of collaborations. Not only playing, but programming, Moran will follow-up his opening concert with events paired with Louis Andriessen, with Conrad Tao and Tyshawn Sorey, and working with the film and architecture of Lucy Raven. Even if you know Moran’s formidable musicianship, expect to be surprised.