October Listingsby George Grella and Brad Cohan
October 3–8: The Mile-Long Opera: a biography of 7 o’clock at The High Line. Pulitzer Prize winning composer David Lang is no stranger to large-scale, public works as evidenced by the public domain and symphony for a broken orchestra. Ambitious is an understatement in describing The Mile-Long Opera: a biography of 7 o’clock, Lang’s co-creation with the architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro and what promises to be an experience like no other. A free choral work that will be performed by 1,000 singers, audience walks to groups of singers as they share personal New York stories focusing on the transitional meaning of the 7:00 pm hour and what people are doing and consumed with.
October 5: Hidejiro Honjoh + International Contemporary Ensemble at Japan Society. A wunderkind of the shamisen (a three-stringed traditional Japanese instrument), Hidejiro Honjoh teams with members of the world renowned International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) in the world premieres of new pieces by Vijay Iyer, Nathan Davis, and Yu Kuwabara, as well as pieces by Yuji Takahashi and Dai Fujikura, and the U.S. premiere of the full score of Scott Johnson’s Up and Back for shamisen, electric guitar, cello and piano.
October 6–7: Ragas Live Festival 2018 at Pioneer Works. A 24-hour, 24-set audio/visual spectacular, Ragas Live Festival 2018 brings together pioneers blazing new ground in the traditional Indian classical music spectrum. From Ritual Ensemble (with Vijay Iyer) to Brooklyn Raga Massive’s Coltrane Raga Tribute, Go: Organic Orchestra, and the guitarist Ross Hammond with Sameer Gupta and Pawan Benjamin, Ragas Live 2018 will be full-blown strings-bending glory for 24 hours straight.
October 7–9, 12–14: Arts for Art Presents Raza y Resistencia / Race & Resistance at Teatro LaTEA and El Taller Latino Americano. Arts for Arts continues its quest for peace and justice using the healing power of music, art, and poetry by presenting the Raza y Resistencia / Race & Resistance series. Described as “an Un-Columbus Celebration featuring the world’s most outstanding improvisers from our marginalized America – the original peoples, those brought here unwillingly, and those who have immigrated”, Raza y Resistencia is spread out over six days at two locations, featuring performances from visionary improvisers and composers such as Matthew Shipp and Ivo Perelman, Tiger Trio (Myra Melford, Nicole Mitchell, and Joëlle Léandre), Darius Jones Trio, Tony Malaby Quartet, Aruán Ortiz, and vocalist Fay Victor’s SoundNoiseFUNK, whose excellent debut, titled Wet Robots, was just released by ESP-Disk.
October 7: Charalambides (Tom and Christina Carter) and Loren Connors at Blank Forms. Texas-based Charalambides, the avant-folk duo of guitarists Tom and Christina Carter, have been making their distinct brand of warm and trippy psychedelia since 1991. On the just-released Charalambides: Tom and Christina Carter, their spaced-out, back porch, shapeshifting jams are as entrancing and blissful as ever as they bathe their slow-burning riffs with freak-folky twang, airy drone, and free-improvisational skronk. Opening the show is avant-guitar pioneer Loren Connors.
October 8: Marc Ribot: Songs of Resistance Record Release at (le) poisson rouge. Grizzled guitar visionary and tireless activist Marc Ribot began 2018 with the “fuck-you-Trump” record of the year (Ceramic Dog’s blistering statement, YRU Still Here?) and the protest anthem for the ages (“Muslim Jewish Resistance”) and he isn’t letting up. On Songs of Resistance 1942–2018, Ribot righteously continues his anti-Trump, anti-fascist screeds with friends like Tom Waits, Sam Amidon, Meshell Ndegocello, Fay Victor, Steve Earle, Syd Straw, Tift Merritt, and more. Tonight, Ribot rings in the release of Songs of Resistance with guest turns from Justin Vivian Bond, Ohene Cornelius, Domenica Fossati, and Victor, and a band featuring Jay Rodriguez (saxophone), Brad Jones (bass), Ches Smith (drums), and Reinaldo de Jesus (percussion).
October 9: Catherine Sikora + Brian Chase untitled: after Record Release Show and Ryan Sawyer at Areté Venue and Gallery. Improviser and Yeah Yeah Yeahs drummer Brian Chase just launched his own record label (Chaikin Records) and one of its first releases is untitled: after. Chase and rising star saxophonist Catherine Sikora share a telepathic sonic vocabulary all their own.
October 10-December 30: The Velvet Underground Experience: Art and Music Exhibition at 718 Broadway. Their influence immeasurable and quintessentially the definition of New York cool, avant-garde legends The Velvet Underground continue to shape the music, art, and fashion lexicon fifty-one years after their debut album. Now VU’s history and legacy will be in full view through film, photographs, objects, and interactive projections.
October 10: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House. The influence and legend of Alice Coltrane—pianist, organist, harpist, singer, composer, swamini, and the wife of John Coltrane—in the avant-garde jazz world is without measure. Coltrane recordings like Universal Consciousness and Journey in Satchidananda are essential spiritual jazz touchstones and last year’s The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda (via the Luaka Bop label) sparked renewed interest in her pioneering journey. Led by Surya Botofasina, who grew up on the Ashram, and the Sai Anantam Ashram Singers, the evening features Turiyasangitananda’s (the name in which Coltrane changed to after she started an ashram in California) songs of devotion, or bhajans—lost ashram recordings from 1982 through 1995.
October 10: The Way Ahead Presents Razorlegs + Jim Sauter, Marc Edwards’ Slipstream Time Travel, Tamio Shiraishi, and Jeremiah Cymerman at The Footlight. Music scribe Clifford Allen’s cutting-edge The Way Ahead experimental concert series continues to bring the noise as psych-punk duo Razorlegs (soon to relocate to Chicago) and Jim Sauter (of legendary free jazz noise-mongers, Borbetomagus) headline a bill with Marc Edwards’ Slipstream Time Travel and saxophonist Tamio Shiraishi. Arrive early for clarinetist and electronics noisemaker Jeremiah Cymerman, whose recently released solo record Decay of the Angel (via his own 5049 label) is cathartic and brutal metal and jazz-leaning noise-scapes from some dystopian otherworld.
October 11: Hearts & Minds, Bassett/Gordon, and Warren Ng at H0l0. Ace bass clarinetist Jason Stein is a creative music force with a ballooning oeuvre. His quartet released the excellent Lucille! in 2017 and earlier this year Locksmith Isidore (his trio with bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Mike Pride) unleashed the squawking and groove-heavy hard-bop freak-outs of After Caroline. Now Stein has hooked up with keyboardist Paul Giallorenzo and drummer Chad Taylor as Hearts and Minds and they’ve followed up their 2016 self-titled debut with the fittingly titled Electroradiance, an intense and rollicking set of Sun Ra-inspired, synthesizer-splattered ecstatic-jazz.
October 12: Active Listening: 10 World Premieres for Social Justice at Spectrum. Active Listening is a fittingly named concert series designed, literally, to spark action in the arena of social justice. Featuring award-winning pianist Lior Willinger performing ten world premieres by a small army of composers including Marcos Balter, David Smooke, Natalie Draper, Ledah Finck, Shelley Washington, and Zhangyi Chen with a mindset focused on the injustices plaguing this country. With the composers’ eyes on climate change, gun control, immigrant children, homelessness, lack of diversity in academia, environmental protection, hate speech, and more, Active Listening is a good start as any to help spur change.
October 13: Mudhoney at Warsaw. For three decades, legendary grunge iconoclasts Mudhoney have trudged on without compromise while outlasting most of their contemporaries. On Digital Garbage, their first album in five years, these Seattle hardcore punk originals have dived headfirst into the political spectrum with a piss and vinegar-drenched take on the evils of the Trump administration, social media addiction, and evangelical hypocrisy. Digital Garbage is a scorched-earth slab and their live show is no less a face-melting trip complete with new anthems and icky hits culled from their catalog.
October 13: Matt Lavelle and Reggie Sylvester Retrograde and Clarinet City at Michiko Rehearsal Studios. The famed free jazz label ESP-Disk continues its revival with the just-issued Retrograde, multi-instrumentalist Matt Lavelle and drummer Reggie Sylvester’s hypnotic and blissed-out trip to the sonic planes where John Coltrane and Rashied Ali roamed on Interstellar Space.
October 14: NO WAVE OUT with Lydia Lunch and Umar Bin Hassan (Last Poets) at Public Arts. They first took the stage two years ago for a memorable set at Joe’s Pub and now no wave iconoclast and “Big Sexy Noise” queen Lydia Lunch joins forces yet again with flame-throwing wordsmith Umar Bin Hassan of revolutionary proto-hip hop warriors Last Poets for more bloodthirsty and sultry system-railing spit balling.
October 16: Joseph C Phillips Jr & Numinous: The Grey Land at Roulette. This is Joe Phillips time. He’s a singular composer who uses beauty and suggestions of the pleasure of pop music to surreptitiously and incontrovertibly reveal the essential Africa-American roots underlying everything we love in American culture. Eight years in gestation, The Grey Landis a multimedia mono-drama which will have a semi-staged performance at Roulette, and is the story of one Black mother’s experiences making her way through American society across “the intractable triumvirate of race, class, and power.”
October 17–19: The Flying Luttenbachers at Warsaw. After a successful European tour earlier this year, drummer Weasel Walter is now giving American audiences a taste of his rebooted and reconstituted “brutal-prog” outfit and the group he’s best known for, The Flying Luttenbachers. Personally tapped to open these three shows by headliners The Oh Sees, Walter, alongside guitarist Brandon Seabrook, saxophonist Matt Nelson, and bassist Tim Dahl, will serve up utter mayhem in its lethal and meticulous assault of metal, prog, classical composition, and free jazz.
October 17–19: New Sounds Live presents David Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy at the Winter Garden. In order across the three nights, a group made up of members of Deerhoof, Shearwater, Xiu Xiu, Dirty Projectors, Loma, and Battle Trance will play the complete albums of David Bowie’s and Brian Eno’s seminal Berlin Trilogy: Lodger, Heroes, and Low. The only other thing you need to know is that each show is free.
October 18: The Anchoress at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music. Two world-class ensembles, Piffaro, The Renaissance Band, and the PRISM Quartet team with soprano Hyunah Yu to present the New York premiere of The Anchoress, a monodrama by the Award-winning classical music composer David Ludwig and poet Katie Ford that “imagines the life of a medieval mystic, merging the sounds of ancient and modern worlds to explore issues of faith, gender, isolation, and social power.” The evening also includes additional works by Ludwig featuring soprano Tiffany Townsend, violinist Karen Kim, flutist Mimi Stillman, and pianist Susan Nowicki.
October 19: Firehouse Collective Concert Fund Raiser at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music. For six years, the East Williamsburg-based Firehouse Space was a crucial, artist-friendly, community-driven hotbed for experimental music, avant-garde jazz, multimedia performance, and more. In 2017, it temporarily shut down as it looked to relocate. Thankfully, their new state-of-the-art space (soon to reopen as The Firehouse Collective) in Sunset Park awaits and this fundraiser and avant-jazz star-studded concert will help realize that vision.
October 19: Graham Lambkin and Áine O’Dwyer: Cyclic Ancestry at Blank Forms. As part of Blank Forms’ exhibition Henning Christiansen: Freedom is Around the Corner (October 11 - November 2), artist and “sound organizer” Lambkin and musician O’Dwyer will perform and “amplified choreography” that responds to the environmental concerns Henning shows in his later visual works. Preceding this, soprano Lau Nau will perform a new adaptation of the artist’s Symphony Natura.
October 21: Outskirts Piano Series (Curated by Eli Wallace) featuring Gabriel Zucker, Adam Tendler, and Angela Morris/Wallace Duo at 254 Schenk Avenue. The superhuman technique with which freethinking Brooklyn-via-Oakland pianist Eli Wallace attacks the keys is a head-spinning and scintillating experience. It’s no wonder Wallace has worked with likeminded luminaries such as Daniel Carter, Ches Smith, Trevor Dunn, Chris Pitsiokos, Andrew Smiley, and Sandy Ewen. On this year’s explosive /Slideshow Junky I/, Wallace, with help from locals like drummer Jason Nazary, bassist Brandon Lopez, guitarist Aaron Quinn, and drummer Devin Grey, sets his piano aflame with hot-wired complexities galore that draws from downtown NYC free-improvisation and classical music with punk rock fervor.
October 20–21: Peter Evans: More is More Records Release Mini-Festival at JACK. Trumpeter, composer, and improviser Peter Evans has long been a true original and a leading innovative force in New York City’s jazz avant-garde. Evans also helms his own record label (More is More) and over this two-night stint, he follows his two excellent releases from 2016 (his Quintet’s Genesis and solo record Lifeblood) with a batch of new recordings, including a new solo record of his own, one by saxophonist / electronics musician Aaron Burnett, separate duo sets pairing Evans with French horn player David Byrd-Marrow and electronics / percussionist Levy Lorenzo, and the debut of Being and Becoming, a new group with Evans, Joel Ross (vibraphone/marimba), Nick Jozwiak(bass), and Savannah Grace Harris (drums).
October 21–23: Tyshawn Sorey and special guests at The Kitchen. This month the virtuosic brilliance of MacArthur “genius” award winner, composer, and drummer Tyshawn Sorey will be further manifested on his latest Herculean sprawl, the three-disc, four hour-long, meditative drone masterwork, Pillars. But Sorey, ever the prolific and tirelessly creative music maestro, is already on to his next undertaking. For this run at The Kitchen, he will present three performances that illuminate his freethinking free-improvisation-meets-
October 25: Marija Ilic performs Bunita Marcus & Premieres at Daniel Goode’s Loft. The piano series at clarinetist/composer Daniel Goode’s Spring Street loft continues as composer Michael Vincent Waller presents Marija Ilic performing the music of Bunita Marcus. The program also includes premieres by Sean McCann, Hollas Longton, and Waller.
October 25: Hunter Hunt-Hendrix presents New Video Opera Origin Of The Alimonies at National Sawdust. Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, the prolific and polarizing mastermind of black-metal group Liturgy and leader of electronics project Kel Valhaal, takes the National Sawdust stage to provide the live score to his directorial debut, the video opera Origin of the Alimonies, starring multi-disciplinary artist Angelina Dreem. Composed in his “transcendental black metal” style, “the piece tells the story of a traumatic explosion of love and loss that underlies our world of time and form. It follows OIOION and SHEYMN, a pair of divine beings whose thwarted passion tears a wound from which civilization is generated, producing the Four Alimonies of the intelligible universe and the task of collective emancipation.” The live ensemble features Hunt-Hendrix and and his Liturgy bandmate, guitarist Bernard Gann, alongside a formidable crew of titans culled from New York City’s experimental underground including, Jessica Pavone, Leila Bordreuil, and Nate Wooley.
October 25: Michael Gira and Norman Westberg at Warsaw. No one could have predicted the improbable and hugely successful second life Michael Gira’s pioneering no wave group Swans enjoyed beginning with 2010’s My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky and culminating with 2016’s The Glowing Man, along with a run of final shows late last year featuring its longtime lineup. Swans may be disbanding in its current iteration but Gira is soldiering on with Swans 3.0. He and Swans were recently the subject of an exceptional must-read of everything Swans, the in-depth oral history Sacrifice and Transcendence penned by music scribe Nick Soulsby (do check out Brooklyn Rail contributor Dan Joseph’s review here. Now, he’s traded in his deafeningly loud and ecstatically pummeling ensemble for a stripped-down and solo acoustic guise, one of which he will performing in seated venues as he previews material from a forthcoming record (due sometime in 2019) and select cuts from the sprawling Swans output.
October 26: Brandon Lopez: Malediction With Michael Foster, Nina Dante, and Lucie Vítková at ISSUE Project Room. On-the-rise composer, improviser, and double bassist Brandon Lopez presents his third and final work as 2018 ISSUE Artist-In-Residence with Malediction, a piece for four players (Michael Foster on saxophones, Nina Dante voice, and Lucie Vítková on accordion and objects). Lopez is also welcoming in the release of his solo double bass album, Quoniam Facta Sum Vilis (Astral Spirits). At times violent and ear-splitting and other times spiritually moving, the album is “created, in part, as an answer to the musical ‘reason’ of the Bach cello suites” and “seeks to create the inverse of what’s hailed as musical logic,” as Lopez tells it.
October 26–27: Heartbeat Opera presents DRAGUS MAXIMUS: a homersexual opera, at Roulette. This creative and enterprising indie opera company is one of the best around at rethinking classic works for contemporary times. This Halloween production looks to be one of the funnest things on the Fall schedule, with a new and fabulous drama coming out of a mash-up of Monteverdi, Handel, Offenbach, and a new number from Daniel Schlosberg and Royce Vavrek.
October 27: Stephen Crump’s ELEMENTAL at I-Beam. Crump is not only one of the most in-demand bassist in new jazz, he’s also a superb bandleader. This quartet of the leader, saxophonist Michaël Attias, guitarist Ryan Ferreira, and percussionist Ches Smith steps away from expectations by emphasizing texture instead of rhythm via bowed bass and bowed percussion.
October 28: Booker Stardrum Temporary, etc. Record Release Show with Erica Eso, and Lea Bertucci + Amirtha Kidambi Duo at Union Pool. The Los Angeles-based electronics and percussion merchant Booker Stardrum celebrates the release of Temporary, etc. (NNA Tapes), an addictive sound-world of throbbing polyrhythmic insanity, recorded, mixed, and engineered with John Dieterich of Deerhoof.
November 1: Elliott Sharp: IrRational Music at Roulette. Sharp has an upcoming book, IrRational Music, that is a combination memoir and exploration of music and art, plus a new release on Mode, Dispersions. He celebrates both this night. First he’ll play selections from his virtuosic Octal series on 8-string guitar bass, then SysOrk and the Veni Ensemble will play his algorithmic and graphic scores and music from Dispersions, respectively.
November 2–3: Experiments in Opera MODULARIAS at The Flea. Experiments in Opera continues to reinvent the very idea of what opera is each time they put on a show. MODULARIAS is a set of four works for the unique combination of modular synthesizer and voice, one each from Jason Cady, Joan La Barbara, Kamala Sankaram, and Andrew Raffo Dewar. You can enjoy the follow up at home or anywhere on your mobile device(s): Cady’s Buick City, a “murder mystery set in the 1980’s Flint, MI,” is a series of four 25-minute podcast episodes that will be posted weekly starting November 6. See Experiments in Opera’s site for more details