The Big Beautiful Dark and Scary Thread - (Bang on a Can 25. Anniversary)

edited January 2012 in Classical
info @ Cantaloupe Records
- This album has triggered my memory . . .

Firstly, Julia Wolfe, the composer of the mindblowing first track released a wonderful album in the beginning of 2011, posted by yours truly @ the New & Notable. Reposted here:
Provocative and intense, Bang on a Can and Cantaloupe Music founder, Julia Wolfe's music combines minimalist techniques, repetitive rhythms, sustained harmonies with a rock sensibility.

Cruel Sister, written for string orchestra was commissioned by the Munich Chamber Orchestra and received its US premiere at the Spoleto Festival in 2009. The piece recounts a grisly tale of sibling rivalry, inspired by a haunting English ballad. "I was fascinated and horrified by the overwhelming greed and jealousy of the tale," says Julia. "My "Cruel Sister" is a search to unravel this human dilemma."

Fuel, on the other hand, is a collaboration with filmmaker Bill Morrison which examines the impact of globalization. Commissioned by Ensemble Resonanz, a Hamburg-based group of 18 musicians, Fuel was premiered in 2007 as a multi-media performance. The ideas for the piece came about through conversations related to the necessity and controversy of fuel. Ensemble Resonanz violinist, Juditha Haeberlin then challenged Wolfe to create something virtuosic, something to push the limit?s of the ensemble. Her request merged with the sounds of transport and harbors - New York and Hamburg - large ships, creaking docks, whistling sounds and a relentless energy.
- Cantaloupe Music 2011
- And more Julia Wolfe stuff from the New World drop @ Amie Street:
nwcr671.full.jpg - Track 2 nwcr628.full.jpg - (Vol. 1 - track 5)

- The composer of track 7, 8 and 9, David Longstreth released a groundbreaking album with Dirty Projectors on Western Vinyl in 2005:
"The Getty Address is an album by indie band Dirty Projectors. It is described as "a glitch opera" about musician Don Henley, although it also explores themes like ancient Mexico, post-9/11 America, and oil. The album boasts over 25 musicians on it, most of whom contributed to the orchestral and choral backing of the album. These parts were recorded at Yale University as well as other locations in New Haven, Connecticut over a period spanning over five months, and were chopped up digitally to create the backings of the album. Dave Longstreth then overdubbed his own vocals, guitar, bass, and other instruments to create the songs on the album. Although the lyrics have been described as gibberish, the words actually do tell a narrative beginning with Don Henley contemplating suicide, and ending with a new installment of Longstreth's songs involving brown finches.

In 2010, Dirty Projectors collaborated with Alarm Will Sound to create a live-performance version of The Getty Address. Transcription and arrangements were done by Alarm Will Sound members Matt Marks, Alan Pierson and Chris Thompson. The piece was performed by both groups at Lincoln Center, Disney Hall, and the Barbican Centre.

- Wiki

- An album that introduces previously unknown realms of music (at least to me).

The Dirty Projectors offers a "free for an email" 7" single on their website:

ETA: A letter from David Longstreth to Don Henley (The Eagles) from 2005: - (interesting reading)


  • edited January 2012
    - And posted by Bad Thoughts Jun 17th 2010 @ the free stuff thread:
    Bang on a Can All Stars concert from Danish National Radio
    Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen: Convex-Concave-Concord (18 MB)
    David Lang: Sunray (15 MB)
    Michael Gordon: For Madeline (11 MB)
    Julie Wolfe: Believing (11 MB)
    Steve Reich: Electric Counterpoint (21 MB)
    Brian Eno: Bernie Airlines give you so much more (8 MB)

    - The site is in danish but the tracks are still available and much recommended.
  • edited January 2012
    This is posted by Terry Riley:
    My first BOAC marathon took place on May 11, 1990 and was held down in the East Village at the R.A.A.P. Arts Center. I had just formed the Khayal big band then and this was the only gig that we ever played as a 10 piece group...(subsequent Khayal ensembles were always with 5 members) George Brooks, Bill Douglass, George Marsh, Molly Holm, Barbara Higbie, Jaron Lanier, Jim Newman, Shabda Owens, Miranissa Douglas and I blew our budget flying to NY from California because BOAC had given us our first and only opportunity to present this band in a concert. The Khayal big band played its lengthy jams on hastily assembled charts made for this show and we closed the concert with IN C, joined by many members of the audience including Tom Constantin, La Monte Young, and Marian Zazeela. It was my first marathon (although the solo all night flights I did in the 60's came close) and it had the lively energy that those old Tape Music Center concerts in San Francisco had in the early 60's.

    My next event with the group:
    The 40th anniversary of IN C was celebrated with the All Stars on a tour of the south, midwest and east and was an opportunity for me to really get acquainted with the All Stars and their music making skills and an enjoyable reunion with Phil Glass, who with his characteristic generosity and grace, joined in the performances. It was a chance for me to share the sound waves with Mark Stewart, David Cossin, Robert Black, Lisa Moore and Evan Ziporyn...musicians with ferocious classical abilities and sharply honed improvisational instincts. During this time we would often enjoy impromptu jams during the sound checks for IN C which kind of set the stage for our next big project together, Autodreamographical Tales.

    In 2004 at my first summer composer residency in North Adams, Mass., in the course of a talk to the students and faculty, I played the studio recording I had made of Autodreamographical Tales. Evan Ziporyn's suggested that it should be orchestrated and arranged for the All Stars so that it could be performed live, a project which Gyan Riley realized by transcribing the original recording for the All Stars lineup. In March of 2007 at a Sound Res in Puglia, Italy, the All Stars and I rehearsed and put the piece together for a somewhat bewildered Italian speaking audience in a beautiful courtyard in Lecce. The psychedelic text was mostly in English but Alessandra Pomarico translated a few of the tales for me to read in my somewhat unpolished Italian.

    Hats off to David Lang, Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe for their vision...spawning music marathons all over the world. It makes me happy to see musicians down the road a generation from me staking out an original path while encouraging music community... wow what a great way to go! They have shown that cooperation replacing competition can produce work of originality and vitality. The Bang on a Can fountainhead...3 composers who have produced some of the most powerful and startling original music of our times, carried along by the electrifying performances of the BOAC All Stars, have made a huge impact on the music of today and the future.

    May the force be with the Bang on a Can family ...only 25 years left to reach the 1/2 century mark...It would be nice to be around for that!

    Terry Riley | January 5, 2012 | 2:48pm
  • edited January 2012
    - A very special bump for Mr. B Blood - Welcome back.

    - And a reminder: The free Big Beautiful Dark and Scary album offer will expire january 26.
  • This is a bit of a side issue, but I was caught by this last Anniversary greeting:
    My Dear Bang On A Can,

    When we first met, I thought you were too uptown for me. That was before you blew my mind. And opened up a warm world of friends and colleagues.

    Linda Fisher introduced us in 1990, when we performed at the Marathon on my Musical Shoes. (I miss Linda, who is now living in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery.)

    You gave me Lincoln Center debut, my BAM debut, and the All-Stars took my headphone-driven pieces to Amsterdam, Israel, and I'm still not sure where else. I never intended this work for instrumental groups, but for hand-picked vocalists and performance artists. Yet after the All-Stars started doing it, Ethel knocked on my door. Through Ethel I met Todd Reynolds, with whom I am jamming still--and on those same shoes, now computerized.

    Soon Alarm Will Sound, So Percussion, ICE and that amazing Grand Valley State U. ensemble came calling. Imagine me, the once and future solo electronic dance band, seeing my work in the list of the All-Stars repertoire right here in 2012. Bizarre. To you, the absurdity of my one-time-only rule (each performer can do a headphone-driven part only once to preserve the surprise element) wasn't absurd, merely another logistical problem to solve.

    That felt real fine.

    "It's a culture", Evan Ziporyn once said to me about Michael Gordon's musical ideas and his signature grouping of 4 eighth notes and 4 quarter-note triplets (not three--FOUR triplets). That pattern and that culture is what blew my mind (not your eclecticism--I worked at the Pyramid Club in the '80s after all). Here was a paradigm that literally busted out of the grid--yet kept the groove. Is that what Bang On A Can has aimed for all along?

    Joshua Fried | February 3, 2012 | 3:58pm

    Searching led me to Soundcloud and some recent posts from Josua Fried:
    RADIO WONDERLAND - Live at Megapolis 2009

    - "RADIO WONDERLAND live at the first annual Megapolis Festival, produced by Nick van der Kolk. 100% live radio source, 100% MaxMSP processing, 100% MIDI controlled by an old Buick steering wheel and shoes played with drumsticks."

    Josuah Fried playing the shoes @ Youtube
  • edited March 2012
    so.. I downloaded this free album (the one at the top of the thread) from BoaC back when. I saved the mp3's to a local folder and now am trying to copy the files over to my external drive that I use to backup all my music. I can't copy the files because I get a message saying that "I need permission to perform this action" and "You require permission from S-1-5-21-857238711-blah blah blah to make changes to this file".

    Seriously, what a hassle. None of the other mp3's I've gotten elsewhere have ever given me the kind of problems this stuff is giving me. I tried dorking around with permission on the damn files and it looks like they're forever stuck where they are.

    Does anyone else running Win 7 x64 who downloaded this album have similar restrictions regarding being able to simply make a copy of the damn thing?

    Edit: It appears that the files are encrypted and the only 'user' setup to access the files belong to my previous, now dead OS drive. I can't even play the damn things anymore. Sheesh.
  • luddite, I just tried it and no problem. My library also lives on an external HD, so I probably did the same thing you're trying to do now. Maybe some security settings got activated on your folder?? (I suppose they could have added restrictions to the files sometime after I DL'd them...?)

    Of course, when any weird problem on any Windows machine, restart and retry...
  • Doofy,

    Thanks for checking it out. I think it's all tied back to the encryption thing that I just noticed (file names show as 'green' rather than black). On the bright side I did inexplicably have the authority to delete the files so now I got one less thing to worry about (and listen to).
  • - This is from the Bang on a Can newsletter, just in case someone should be interested:
    "Dear Friends,
    We wanted to let you know that Evan is leaving the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Evan has been such a big part of everything we have done for the last 25 years. He played on the first festival, and every festival afterwards. He was a founding member of the All-Stars - featured as a composer, performer, scholar, and often as the commentator between pieces, and his compositions have been a highlight of 100's of the concerts we have done, all around the world. The formal note announcing his moving on is copied below, so you can see how active he is - he is writing music for all sorts of great performers, he is starting a new world-class center for art and technology at MIT, where he teaches. The guy is busy! But we didn't want Evan to go without pointing out how much we all accomplished together, how close our connection has been, and especially that we wish him all the best."

    Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julia Wolfe
    - "After 20 years, capped by the recent achievements of Bang on a Can’s 25th year, long-time founding composer/clarinetist Evan Ziporyn is leaving the Bang on a Can All-stars to pursue independent projects and devote himself to his new position as Director of MIT's Center of Arts, Science & Technology. As a composer, Ziporyn continues to receive commissions from leading new musicians and ensembles: current projects include new works for Yo-Yo Ma, Brooklyn Rider, Maya Beiser, Sentieri Selvaggi, and his own ensemble, Gamelan Galak Tika. As a performer, he will this spring premiere a new clarinet concerto by Don Byron; in February he will unveil his own new performing trio, Eviyan, with Czech violinist/singer Iva Bittova and guitarist Gyan Riley.

    Ziporyn's sound and sensibility have been a major part of Bang on a Can from the beginning. He appeared as a clarinet soloist on the first Bang on a Can Marathon in 1987 and appeared on every subsequent marathon. He was a founding member of the All-stars in 1992; with the group he toured over three dozen countries, and premiered over 100 new works. He also co-produced three of their seminal recordings, 1998's Music for Airports, 2001's Renegade Heaven, and 2012's Big Beautiful Dark & Scary. His solo recordings appeared on the group's Cantaloupe label. In 2009/10 Bang on a Can produced his opera, A House in Bali, in performances in Bali, Berkeley, Boston, and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival; this year his own ensemble, Gamelan Galak Tika, was featured at the organization's 25th anniversary gala performance at Alice Tully Hall."
  • edited March 2013
    Available for streaming @ WQXR
    Bang on a Can People's Commissioning Fund Concert
    (Merkin Concert Hall's 2013 Ecstatic Music Festival)
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