Thurston Moore: Demolished Thoughts (Recording Review/Tour/Video)

Thurston Moore

Demolished Thoughts

Matador Records

Those expecting Thurston Moore’s solo record Demolished Thoughts to sound like his work with Sonic Youth –  experimental noise rock – will doubtless be surprised. The LP falls into Moore’s song-propelled, rather than improv-oriented, catalog. But it’s the arrangements that are game-changing.

The instrumentation is quite different from SY’s, with an emphasis on acoustic guitars and even strings. Moore explores this “softer” palette enthusiastically, but he never loses his conceptual edge. There’s still a dysfunctional tinge to the lyrics. What’s more, many of ths songs exhibit a druggy post-psych folk ambience: Moore attributes this to his observations of the college age alterna-hippy set in his hometown – Northhampton, Massachussetts (He even dedicates the video below to these fair minded NoHo inhabitants).

Whatever the influence, Demolished Thoughts is a pleasant surprise, one that suggests that Moore’s music contains yet more previously unexplored multitudes.
Thurston Moore plays the Pitchfork Festival tonight. You can check out his other tour dates, and a video for the album cut “Circulation” below.

Thurston Moore Tour Dates

7/15 Pitchfork Festival, Chicago, IL
7/16 High Noon, Madison, WI
7/18 Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theatre #
7/21 Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre #
7/23 Portland, OR – Alladin Theatre #
7/26 San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall #
7/28 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour #
7/29 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour #
7/30 San Diego, CA – Casbah #

# w/ Kurt Vile

Neon Marshmallow featured on Experimental 1/2 Hour

Portland cable access show “Experimental 1/2 Hour” did a special episode devoted to Chicago’s Neon Marshmallow Festival. Altered Zones is sharing it via Vimeo (embed below).

While I couldn’t make it out to Chicago for the shows (which were 6/10-6/12 at the Empty Bottle), I spent a great deal of the weekend grooving in solidarity to a cassette comp of some of the fest’s featured acts. You can still get one over at the festival’s site: 80 minutes of unreleased tracks for $6!

It’s great to see “out pop’s” ascent continue well beyond the temporary fad stage. Hopefully, more enduring attention will allow for experimentation to remain artistically vital and commercially viable. Who knows, maybe it’ll make more mainstream artists open their ears and up their game?

Experimental ½ Hour – Neon Marshmallow Fest 2011 Special Edition ft. Operative & Luis Gonzalez/Andy Quitter from Experimental ½ Hour on Vimeo.

Albany Symphony makes Carnegie debut tonight

Sequenza 21 readers will doubtless already know that the Albany Symphony is, in orchestral terms, the “mouse that roared.” They’ve long had an extraordinary commitment to contemporary music and their standard of playing is the envy of many regional orchestras. And on the right night and with the right repertoire, they’re in the same “weight class” as some of the top big-budget orchestras.

Tonight, Albany SO gets a chance to show their mettle on one of the most prestigious stages on earth. They make their Carnegie Hall debut as part of the Spring for Music festival. The first half of the program is a set of contemporary pieces based on spirituals, by a wide-ranging list of composers, including George Tsontakis, John Harbison, and Bun-Ching Lam. The second half of the program is sure to be a crowd-pleaser: Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring.

There’s going to be a strong Albany contingent on hand to cheer on their local band, but native New Yorkers are more than welcome too. With ticket prices reduced to $25 in honor of Spring for Music, it’s an excellent opportunity to hear a compelling program of American music played by an under-heralded ensemble.

MATA Festival starts tonight!

The 2011 incarnation of the MATA Festival starts tonight with a salon at Tyler Rollins Fine Art in Chelsea (details here). Free to festival pass holders – and $50 for single tickets (aren’t you glad you signed up for the festival pass?) – the evening will include discussions with composer Aaron Jay Kernis, Brooklyn Philharmonic director Alan Pierson and three of the festival’s commissioned composers. Metropolis Ensemble will be on hand to provide musical excerpts and there’s a wine and cheese reception.

Salons are fun and all, but the meat and potatoes music-making of MATA begins in earnest tomorrow night at LPR (details here), with a concert titled “Multinational Conglomerate: New Music from Around the World.” ACME, L’Arsenale, Hu Jianbing and Bao Jian perform pieces by Christopher Adler (from the exotic environs of San Diego), Alex Freeman (Minnesota?), Gudmundur Gunnarsson, Mauricio Pauly, and others. In case you’re as confused about the geographic profile of this event as I was, the works by Americans are inspired by music from elsewhere. Chris’ piece uses Chinese mouth organ, Alex’s explores his abiding interest in Finnish music, etc.

MATA continues through 5/12, and we’ll have more coverage here. Outside NYC? Don’t feel left out. Q2 is broadcasting the 5/11 concert live (including a real-time webchat) and recording the shows on 5/10 and 5/12 for future presentations.

Cutting Edge Series Continues Tonight

I’m looking forward to hearing violinist Miranda Cuckson premiere a new chamber concerto by Jeffrey Mumford tonight at Symphony Space.

Cuckson is a tremendous talent. Her recent CDs of music by Ralph Shapey, Donald Martino, and Michael Hersch are required listening for anyone interested in post-tonal chamber music.

The concert also includes works by Harold Meltzer, Victoria Bond, and Brian Ferneyhough. Cuckson is joined by the Argento Ensemble; the Da Capo Chamber Players will also perform (details below).

Cutting Edge Concerts New Music Festival Program
Monday, April 11, 2011, 7:30 pm; $20/Seniors $15
Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater in Peter Norton Symphony Space
Ticket information here

Jeffrey Mumford: through a stillness brightening (world premiere)
Argento Ensemble

Commissioned by the Argento New Music Project through the generosity of Marianna Bettman (in memory of Judge Gilbert Bettman) and Sonia Rothschild.

Brian Ferneyhough: La Chute D’Icare
Argento Ensemble

Harold Meltzer: Exiles
Da Capo Chamber Players, Mary Nessinger, mezzo soprano

Victoria Bond: Instruments of Revelation (NY premiere)
Da Capo Chamber Players

Alarm Will Sound in Berlin (Video)

Alarm Will Sound made their German debut on 3/21/10 at Märzmusik—part of the Berlin Festival. They played works by Harrison Birtwistle, Wolfgang Rihm, John Adams, John Orfe, Stefan Freund, and Aphex Twin, including Omgyjya Switch 7. Here’s a video of them playing the piece in New York at the Ecstatic Music Festival.

Courtesy of our friends at Q2 Music, here’s a snippet of them performing Rihm in Germany.

Cutting Edge Concerts Kicks off Tonight

Thus far, 2011 seems to be the year of the festival. From Tune Up to Tully Scope and beyond, a wide variety of adventurous outings have been offered in New York. Starting tonight, Symphony Space joins in the fun with their Cutting Edge Concerts New Music Festival.

If each festival has had its own identity – Tune Up reveling in the Park Avenue Armory’s generous space and acoustics, Tully Scope celebrating the diversity of its offerings and its newly remodeled digs – the emphasis of Cutting Edge seems, like so many events at Symphony Space, to be outreach and interaction.
All of the composers will be present at the concerts featuring their music. Each program will include onstage discussion between the featured composers and Victoria Bond. One hopes that meeting composers “in the flesh” and learning about their works firsthand will encourage audience members to approach their works with open minds and ears.

Tonight’s concert includes a world premiere by talented up and comer Hannah Lash, as well as a New York premiere by perennial audience favorite Peter Schickele. Kathleen Supove performs a work by Randy Woolf. Topping it all off is Hidden Inside Mountains, a new multimedia work by downtown luminary Laurie Anderson.

Cutting Edge Concerts New Music Festival is on four Monday evenings at 7:30 pm on
March 28, April 4, April 11 and April 25, 2011 at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre in
Peter Norton Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street in New York City.
More information about the Festival, including program notes, performer and composer bios, and
video interviews is available at
Tickets are $20 ($15 for students and seniors).
To purchase tickets, visit or call 212-864-5400.
Program for Monday, March 28, 2011

Hannah Lash: Folksongs (world premiere)
MAYA: Sato Moughalian, flute; Bridget Kibbey, harp, John Hadfield, percussion
MAYA’s appearance is supported by the Jarvis and Constance Doctorow Family
Peter Schickele: Music for Orcas Island (NY premiere)
Renee Jolles, violin; Daniel Panner, viola; Maxine Neuman, cello; Kathleen Supove,
Jon Deak: Bye Bye
Sato Moughalian, flute; Kathleen Supove, piano
Randall Woolf: Righteous Babe
Sato Moughalian, flute; Kathleen Supove, piano
Laurie Anderson: Hidden Inside Mountains
Laurie Anderson, video and music

Royal Bangs: “Fireball” (Soundcloud)

The Royal Bangs are getting set to release Flux Outside, their third album on March 29th via Glassnote. In the lead-up to the release they’re going to be busy as all get out, playing nine shows at next week’s SXSW festival (dates below), followup touring, and appearing as musical guests on David Letterman on 4/1.

Here’s “Fireball,” a rousing teaser track from the LP.
Fireball by Royal Bangs by Glassnotemusic



11:20 PM – Thrillist Party
@ Antone’s
203 W. 5th Street (@ Lavaca)


9:15 PM – w/ Two Door Cinema Club
@ La Zona Rosa
612 W. 4th Street (@ Rio Grande)


4:15 PM – The Windish Agency / Laneway Festival / Eat Your Own Ears / Austinist Present
@ Mohawk
912 Red River St. (@ E. 10th)

11:00 PM – Billboard Bungalow Official SXSW Showcase
@ Buffalo Billiards
201 E. 6th St. (Brazos/San Jacinto)

4:00PM – Waterloo Records Day Party
@ Waterloo Records
600A N. Lamar (@ W. 6th)


7:30PM – The Treehouse Diddly
@ Cheers Shot Bar
416 E. 6th St. (Trinity/Naches)


1:30PM – Rachael Ray’s “Feedback” Day Party
@ Stubb’s
801 Red River St. (@ E. 8th)

11:00PM – The Windish Agency House for ND
@ 501 Studios
501 I-35 (5th/Brushy)

Mar 30 GREENVILLE, NC – Live Bar
Mar 31 ASHEVILLE, NC – Emerald Lounge
Apr 01 CHAPEL HILL, NC – Local 506
Apr 02 BALTIMORE, MD – Golden West
Apr 03 WASHINGTON, DC – Black Cat
Apr 04 PHILADELPHIA, PA – Kungfu Necktie
Apr 05 BROOKLYN, NY – Knitting Factory
Apr 06 NEW YORK, NY – Mercury Lounge
Apr 07 BOSTON, MA – Brighton Music Hall
Apr 08 MONTREAL, QC – Casa Del Popolo
Apr 10 BUFFALO, NY – Soundlab
Apr 11 TORONTO, ON – Drake
Apr 12 PITTSBURGH, PA – Brillobox
Apr 13 COLUMBUS, OH – Kobo
Apr 14 CLEVELAND, OH – Grog Shop
Apr 15 DETROIT, MI – Magic Stick
Apr 16 CHICAGO, IL – Empty Bottle
Apr 17 APPLETON, WI – Mill Creek Bar
Apr 18 MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Triple Rock
Apr 19 LINCOLN, NE – Duffy’s Tavern
Apr 20 DENVER, CO – Larimer Lounge
Apr 21 SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Urban Lounge
Apr 22 BOISE, ID – Neurolux
Apr 24 SEATTLE, WA – Chop Suey
Apr 25 VANCOUVER, BC – Media Club
Apr 26 PORTLAND, OR – Holocene
Apr 27 SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Rickshaw Stop
Apr 29 LOS ANGELES, CA – Echo
Apr 30 SAN DIEGO, CA – Soda Bar
May 01 PHOENIX, AZ – Rhythm Room
May 02 TUCSON, AZ – Club Congress
May 04 DALLAS, TX – Club Dada
May 05 AUSTIN, TX – Emo’s
May 06 HOUSTON, TX – Fitzgerald’s
May 07 BATON ROUGE, LA – Spanish Moon
May 08 TALLAHASSEE, FL – Engine Room
May 09 ORLANDO, FL – Will’s Pub
May 11 TAMPA, FL – Crobar
May 12 ATLANTA, GA – 529
May 13 BIRMINGHAM, AL – Bottletree

Tuning in Tonight at the Armory

Park Avenue Armory Drill Hall

This week I’m going to be covering the Tune-In Festival at the Park Avenue Armory for Musical America. Earlier this month, the Armory made the news for another high profile arts endeavor. It was announced as the site for the New York Philharmonic’s performance of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Gruppen during the 2011-’12 season. Just as the venue’s large Drill Hall is ideal for a work such Gruppen – a spatial music extravaganza for three orchestras – it’s also ideal for a number of works on the Tune-In Festival that are conceived for unconventional venues.

Tonight is the premiere of Arco, a symphonic collaboration between Paul Haas, Paul Fowler, and Bora Yoon. Performed by Sympho, New York Polyphony, laptop performers, and baritone Charles Perry Sprawls, it brings together snippets of early music, quotations from Beethoven symphonies, original contemporary classical/electronica sections, and even Arvo Pärt’s Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten! This ambitious accumulation of sonic events sounds to me like something that could be very cool or a chaotic mash-up, but I’m eager to hear what they’ve created!

Festival Schedule

Wednesday February 16 at 7:30pm
Tickets: $25
The world premiere of ARCO, the Armory-commissioned orchestral work co-composed by Paul Haas, Paul Fowler and Bora Yoon and performed by Sympho.

Thursday, February 17 at 7:30pm
Tickets: $30
powerFUL confronts listeners with edgy politically-charged music performed by eighth blackbird, red fish blue fish, Newspeak, and guest artists.

Friday, February 18 at 7:30pm
Tickets: $30
powerLESS celebrates the rich and multifaceted world of “absolute music” that seeks no meaning beyond its notes. Performed by eighth blackbird, Argento Chamber Ensemble, Steve Schick, and guest artists.

Sunday, February 20 at 4:00pm
Tickets: $30
The New York—and indoor—premiere of John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit, which features more than 70 percussionists moving throughout the Armory’s expansive drill hall during the performance.

Viola & is tonight!

Wendy performs Scelsi!

The Forge Festival presents

Wendy Richman: Viola &

with Levy Lorenzo, sound engineer

Monday, January 24, 2011, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $10

The Bushwick Starr, Brooklyn, NY (207 Starr Street; 1 block south of the Jefferson St. station on the L subway line)


*Cricket-Viol for singing violist                                             Arlene Sierra
Pronaos for viola and electronics                                            Hillary Zipper
Manto III for singing violist                                                    Giacinto Scelsi
*He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven for singing violist                                 Christian Carey


Vent Nocturne for viola and electronics                                     Kaija Saariaho
*Scelsi Frammenti for singing violist                                                     Lou Bunk
Birches for viola and pre-recorded tracks                                      Kevin Ernste
*world premiere

Wendy Richman has received praise for her “absorbing,” “fresh and idiomatic” interpretations with a “brawny vitality” (The New York Times, The Washington Post). Upon hearing her interpretation of Berio’s Sequenza VI, The Baltimore Sun commented that she made “something at once dramatic and poetic out of the aggressive tremolo-like motif of the piece.” Wendy’s notable solo and chamber music appearances include the international festivals of Edinburgh, Hong Kong, and Helsinki, New York City’s Lincoln Center and Mostly Mozart Festivals, Berlin’s MaerzMusik Festival of Contemporary Music, Darmstadt International New Music Festival, the American Academy in Rome, the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, and Boston’s Jordan Hall. She has recorded for Albany, BMOP/sound, Mode, Naxos, New Focus, New World, Tzadik, and more.

A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory and New England Conservatory, Wendy studied viola with Sara Harmelink, Peter Slowik, Jeffrey Irvine, Carol Rodland, and Kim Kashkashian, and voice with Mary Galbraith and Marlene Rosen. She is based in Ithaca, NY, where she performs and teaches privately at Cornell University. She is a member of the viola section of the Syracuse Symphony and is a founding member of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), a collective of young musicians dedicated to reshaping the way music is heard and experienced in the United States and around the world.

Vox/Viola combines Wendy’s past vocal training and current viola career. The project involves commissions of over 20 young composers, who will write pieces for simultaneous singing and playing. Upcoming concerts include Oberlin Conservatory and Strathmore Mansion in Washington, D.C.

Levy Lorenzo is a percussionist and electronics engineer based in New York. He performs contemporary music in solo and chamber settings across the U.S. and Europe. As an engineer, he currently designs new electronic musical instruments intended for live performance. His electronics design work has been featured at the 2007 Geneva Auto Show and BBCEcuador. Levy has worked professionally as a firmware engineer and holds B.S. and M.Eng. degrees in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Cornell University. He also earned a M.M. degree from SUNY Stony Brook, where he is a D.M.A. candidate, studying percussion Eduardo Leandro and electronic music with Margaret Schedel. You can see and hear Levy’s work at

To learn more about tonight’s composers, please visit the following websites:

Lou Bunk:

Christian Carey:

Kevin Ernste:

Kaija Saariaho:

Giacinto Scelsi:

Arlene Sierra:

Hillary Zipper:


The Forge: