April Selectionsby Brad Cohan
April 6-8: Ende Tymes 9 Festival of Noise and Experimental Liberation at Silent Barn. The mother of all noise music festivals will light up Bushwick as DIY hub Silent Barn hosts the ninth installment of the three day-long Ende Tymes, Festival of Noise and Experimental Liberation. As the brainchild of Brooklyn-based extreme-music titan Bob Bellerue, Ende Tymes has endured while others have come and gone. Once again, Bellerue has assembled a monolithic lineup for noise, drone, industrial, and electronics heads to feast on and way too many to mention in this small space. This year’s fest, however, will end on a bittersweet note as news broke recently that Silent Barn is shutting its doors on April 30.
April 7: Ambient Church: Christina Vantzou's N°4 Ensemble / Clarice Jensen at Bushwick United Methodist Church. There might not be a more fitting venue than this 130-year-old Bushwick church for Christina Vantzou to gently unfurl her cathartic tapestries of drone and mind-numbing and heaven-sent vocalizations. On the new, stunning N°4, her fourth record, Vantzou crafts a transcendent fusion of ambient and classical music that is otherworldly and original in sound and vision. This evening, Vantzou is joined by an eight-piece ensemble featuring Steve Hauschildt, ACME String Quartet, Deradoorian, John Also Bennett (of Forma), and C. Lavender with visuals by Vantzou and Jonathan Turner and projection-mapped by Eric Epstein.
April 8: Experiments in Opera Family Reunion Benefit with Roddy Bottum & Nastie Band, Glasser, Brian Chase & Shelley Hirsch, Katiee, Nick Hallett & Daisy Press, Dan Friel, Jessica Pavone at The Bell House. The composer-driven Brooklyn-based opera company Experiments in Opera have been at the forefront of advancing new and adventurous ways of interpreting stage work to new and old audiences of all ages. At this daytime, family-friendly benefit, that freethinking range is showcased as Faith No More and Imperial Teen’s Roddy Bottum headlines with ace improvisers Shelly Hirsch and Yeah Yeah Yeahs drummer Brian Chase teaming up while Jessica Pavone performs her viola wonders and ex-Parts & Labor dude Dan Friel jabs cosmic electro-jazz tones from his Casio and more.
April 10-14, 21: MATA 20th Anniversary Festival 10-14 (The Kitchen, Chelsea) and 21 (Imagine Swimming, Tribeca). MATA has long been a valuable platform for promoting and giving a voice to young composers and this month they celebrate their twentieth anniversary with a diverse showcase. Highlights include the East coast debut of Liminar, a new-music ensemble hailing from Mexico (on April 10 at The Kitchen) and immersive event A Room of One’s Own: Nadia Botello’s Sono/Aqua at Tribeca’s Imagine Swimming, which closes out the festivities.
April 13: Andrew Drury's Content Provider plays Greenwich House. Drummer/composer Andrew Drury has been a staple of the Brooklyn avant-jazz underground for years, hosting his Soup & Sound house concert series while releasing a slew of recordings as both leader and sideman. Back in 2015, Drury debuted Content Provider, his quartet with the twin-sax assault duo Briggan Krauss and Ingrid Laubrock and guitarist Brandon Seabrook, to face-melting results. On Try, Content Provider’s second effort, the heavy hitting Drury and company have upped the punk-jazz horsepower, swinging and slashing their way through marathon-length epics full of neck-snapping angularity, primal shrieking, conversational give and take, and all-out skronk madness.
April 14: Music Against Mass Incarceration II at Trans-Pecos. A worthy cause and arguably the generational crisis of our time, the second edition of Music Against Mass Incarceration unites a jaw-dropping lineup from across the spectrum that counts local trumpeter Jaimie Branch, Parquet Courts frontman A. Savage, avant-garde jazz visionary William Parker, sound designer and composer Lea Bertucci, and more as just a few who will be fighting the good fight tonight. Music is the healing force of the universe, indeed.
April 14: World Music Institute & Brooklyn Bowl Present: Festival of Mali with Sidi Touré at Brooklyn Bowl. With Tinariwen and Sidi Touré leading the way with their singular visions of spiritual bliss, the music emerging out of Mali reaches for the heavens. That will be on display over this three-day fest as the danceable energy, joyous vibes, and ecstatic and elastic grooves rhythms found on Touré’s new Toubalbero will fill the Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Bowl.
April 16: The Nels Cline 4 feat. Julian Lage, Scott Colley & Tom Rainey at (le) poisson rouge. Composer, improviser, all-around guitar godhead, and longtime Brooklynite Nels Cline follows up 2015’s orchestral American Songbook “mood music” epic Lovers with its polar opposite. Currents, Constellations, the debut from The Nels Cline 4, finds the longtime Wilco member trading jazzy guitar licks galore with fellow six-string master Julian Lage in a loose-limbed—and fingered—swinging affair of breezy and delightfully intricate jams.
April 15: RLYR and Fotocrime at Saint Vitus. All-instrumental power-trio, RLYR (pronounced “Relayer”) is captained by members of Pelican, Locrian, and Bloodiest. Their forthcoming second effort titled Actual Existence, is a clenched fist-pumping, stadium-sized sprawl of ripped, anthemic riff-rock.
April 17: Russian Circles and King Woman at Elsewhere. The brainchild of singer/songwriter Kristina Esfandiari, King Woman’s sludgy, doom-metal bludgeon is a moody, nightmarish, and apocalyptic beast. At times hellishly bleak and other times strange and beautiful, the combo of dripping feedback, slow burning riffs, and Esfandiari’s breathy and haunting voice on 2017’s Created in the Image of Suffering and their recent cover of The Stone Roses’ “I Wanna Be Adored” is a revelation in the broad metal pantheon.
April 18-19: The Jazz Epistles featuring Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya with special guests Ravi Coltrane (Apr 19) & Freddie Hendrix (Apr 18 & 19) at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House. For a brief period in the 1950’s, piano titan Abdullah Ibrahim co-led bebop sensation The Jazz Epistles in tumult-ridden South Africa, taking their cues from American jazz while overcoming adversity to release the first modern jazz record made by an all-black group in that country. For this two-night stint, Ibrahim leads his group Ekaya with special guests as they pay homage to the righteous musical path and legacy that The Jazz Epistles rose up and left in the wake of apartheid and racism.
April 19: Blank Forms Presents Klein at Gavin Brown's enterprise. Based in London, producer and electronics wunderkind Klein churns out a weirdo, experimental hybrid of soul, R&B, and hip-hop shapeshifting that sounds as if it’s transmitted from another universe. Bursting at the seams with needle-skipping scratch, fragmented squeals, soulful whispers, and a spliced and diced array of found sounds (check out 2017’s Tommy), Klein whips up a glitch-heavy sound-world.
April 20: The Messthetics, SAVAK and Sunwatchers at The Bell House. Right off the proverbial bat, the locked-in bass/drums grooves, pounding thump and backbeat fury that was the foundation of every Fugazi record makes its welcome return on the eponymous debut of The Messthetics. A mini-Fugazi reunion of sorts, bassist Joe Lally and drummer Brendan Canty join forces with D.C. avant-everything guitar hero Anthony Pirog on mosh pit-riling all-instrumental anthems that fuse razor-sharp post-punk rhythms with improvisational freak-outs.
April 20: BC35 record release show: 35th anniversary of BC Studio featuring New Old Skull (all ex-Live Skull), White Hills, EXCOP (Cop Shoot Cop/Swans), Nowhere Near (Bob Bert/Sonic Youth, Martin Bisi) and Tidal Channel at Saint Vitus. Since the 80’s, noise-rock super-producer Martin Bisi has manned the boards for countless seminal records, from Sonic Youth, Live Skull, Cop Shoot Cop, to Helmet at his longtime Gowanus pad, BC Studio. After his legendary and iconoclastic path was traced in the tell-all documentary Sound and Chaos: The Story of BC Studio. He’s is now celebrating yet another milestone: thirty-five years of recording. The Bisi-stamped downtown art-rock scuzz sound that epitomized 80’s and 90’s-era NYC is celebrated on BC35 (due 4/20), a compilation of bangers captured live at BC Studio featuring current and former members of Swans, Sonic Youth, White Hills, and more, many who appear tonight, most notably Thalia Zedek, formerly of Live Skull and Come.
April 20-May 6: Composers Concordance 7th Annual Festival ‘Art Of Sound’. An unwavering force in giving composers exposure through concert bookings and its own record label, the intrepid new-music organization Composers Concordance puts on its 7th Annual Festival with a five-concert program spread over a two-week period that falls under the influence of NYC contemporary art (April 20 at Times Square 46th and Broadway pedestrian island, April 22 at Spectrum, April 24 at DROM, April 27 at Estonian House, and May 6 at DROM).
April 21: Armenian Genocide Recognition Concert featuring Deradoorian and Aram Bajakian/Alan Semerdjian at Murmrr Ballroom. A pliable guitarist who effortlessly hops from genre to genre exuding with both downtown NYC and world music flavors, Aram Bajakian has wielded his six-string magic for the late great Lou Reed and currently in dálava, a Moravian-inspired folk duo he shares with his vocalist wife, Julia Úlehla. Tonight, Bajakian embraces and stands up for his Armenian roots in what is being dubbed as the Armenian Genocide Recognition Concert, which finds him collaborating for a set with singer/songwriter Alan Semerdjian to raise awareness for what is known as the “Armenian Holocaust” during the first World War.
April 21: Greg Jamie (O’Death and Blood Warrior) + Karima Walker at Wonders of Nature. Best known as the heart-on-sleeve croaking singer and twang-laden guitarist for gothic Americana crew O’Death, Greg Jamie made his solo debut in January with Crazy Time, a murky and lonely trudge where sparse and ghostly folk melodies radiate mightily through its dystopian landscape.
April 22: Acid Mothers Temple, Yoo Doo Right and Evolfo at The Knitting Factory. In late 2017, the Lima, Peru-based Buh Records released the noise-bathed space-rock odyssey, Wandering The Outer Space by legendary Japanese psych-rock juggernaut, Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO. AMT go it alone tonight but their space-rock psychedelia, stoner meltdowns, and free jazz howls will still be in the highest of gears.
April 24: Thollem’s Hot Pursuit Of Happiness + Laura Ortman / David First at Trans-Pecos. Experimental jazz piano vanguard and travelin’ man Thollem is a touring and recording machine. His never-ending tour brings Thollem back to New York as he celebrates his usual flurry of releases: a trio recording on the famed ESP-Disk label with drummer Tim DuRoche and bassist André Stjames called Live In Our Time and upcoming collaborations with Brian Chase and Todd Clouser, Gino Ribair,and Michael Bisio. This evening, Thollem performs solo on the synth and croons as Hot Pursuit of Happiness.
April 24: Matana Roberts at the Park Avenue Armory. The latest installment in the Artists Studio series that Jason Moran has been curating at the Armory brings the charismatic, abrading, and beautiful music of composer and saxophonist Roberts. Add a third essential description: performer. Through her playing, Roberts embodies the delights and tragedies of history and society live on stage. At this appearance she’s bringing the world premiere of a new musical exploration, blood.blue(s): a remembrance.
April 27: Bo-Peep, PAK, Shardik and Woodhead at The Gateway. A speed freak storm of guitar notes shelled out with surgical pinpoint precision will be put forth this evening as the reconstituted PAK, a lethal math-jazz trio led by guitarist Ron Anderson debuts its new iteration with Steve Blanco of Imperial Triumphant on bass and Cleric’s Larry Kwartowitz welcomed into its brutal-prog fray. This fretboard-hurtling mayhem-themed night is further intensified by the Matt Hollenberg-piloted Shardik, whose self-titled jazzifed tech-metal workout from 2017 converged Flying Lutterbachers and Krallice-like precision. Tokyo punks Bo-Peep are Riot Grrl-influenced noiseniks whose influences run the gamut from grunge to Japanese peers Shonen Knife and Melt-Banana.
April 27: Tigue at Elsewhere (Zone One). Along with Man Forever and Sō Percussion, Tigue is helping push new percussion-based boundaries of sound in melding bits and pieces of pop, psych, and drone into their star-kissed maelstrom. The "half new-music ensemble, half art-rock band" follows up 2015 beats-centric gem Peaks with Strange Paradise, an entrancing and glittering cluster of drum circle-like thuds and thwacks, meditative splatter, and weird candied poptones.
April 29: AntiCausal Systems Label Kickoff Show featuring Lester St. Louis, Paula Matthusen, Charmaine Lee and Philip White and Chris Pitsiokos at JACK. The knob twisting and turning pyrotechnics that electronics music composer and improviser Philip White has been known to set venues in aflame with gloriously dissonant and glitchy sound waves. Now White is taking his experimental know-how by launching his own label. Named AntiCausal Systems, White has summoned likeminded noisemakers and tonight he rings in his label’s initial batch of releases including Charmaine Lee's Ggggg, Weston Olencki's emulsions i-iv, and White and Chris Pitsiokos' Collapse.
Brad Cohan is a music journalist based in Brooklyn who has contributed to Bandcamp, The Village Voice, NY Observer, Time Out NY, VICE, Noisey, SPIN, CLRVYNT, Red Bull Music Academy, and other fine publications.