Mountain Goats plus Anonymous 4 on Q2

Offbeat collaborations have become a hallmark programming preference for Merkin Hall’s Ecstatic Music festival. But the combination of a cappella group Anonymous Four with indie rock songwriter Josh Darnielle of the Mountain Goats and multi-instrumentalist/arranger Owen Pallett is a standout even in this season’s diverse set of offerings.

Josh Darnielle (photo: Jeremy Langet)


Our friends at WQXR were kind enough to share the concert on Q2: it’s streamable via the embedded player below.


Program

Transcendental Youth (Darnielle)
Lection: Apocalypse 21:1-5
The Lord’s Prayer (John Tavener)
Motet: Salve virgo regio/Ave goriosa mater/[DOMINO]
Motet: Gaude virgo nobilis/Verbum caro factum/ET VERITATE
Benedicamus domino: Belial vocatur
Conductus: Nicholai presulis
Song: Novus Annus Adiit
Trope: Gratulantes celebremus festum
The Scientist (Richard Einhorn)
Religious Ballad: Wayfaring Stranger

NPR shares Oneida’s marathon set at ATP

Oneida plus Chavez at ATP

One of the many reasons to love NPR: their stellar coverage of this year’s All Tomorrow’s Parties festival. A highlight at ATP 2011 was Oneida’s marathon free improv set. Titled “Ocropolis III” and clocking in at nearly eight hours in duration, the event featured a number of indie luminaries joining the band onstage: members of Yo La Tengo, Chavez, Portishead, Boredoms, and more.

In a generous gesture, NPR is sharing the entire set as a free download on their website.

ATP

Oneida’s Absolute II is out now via Jagjaguwar.

Michael Gordon’s Sad Park recorded by Kronos

The Sad Park EP

Kronos Quartet; Michael Gordon, composer

iTunes-only DL

Michael Gordon’s musical reflection on 9/11, The Sad Park, is an interesting variant on another piece written for the Kronos Quartet to commemorate the terror attacks: Steve Reich’s WTC 9/11. Gordon’s source material is culled from spoken word recordings made by the teacher of his son’s Pre-K class: responses to the attacks as seen through the eyes of innocents.

But whereas Reich used taped voices of first responders and spoken-word reflections of its aftermath as recognizable, harrowing, landmarks, Gordon eschews using source recordings in an overtly referential, or even recognizable manner. Instead, with the assistance of composer Luke Dubois, they are digitally sculpted into ghostly apparitions; distorted to blur the excerpts’ message in favor of allowing their impact to operate on an emotive and sonic, rather than textual, level. Surrounded  by quartet writing in the post-minimal ostinato manner, as well as sustained, siren-like lines that form a kind of keening, mournful refrain, The Sad Park is an unsettling threnody.

It’s interesting to note that in NPR’s 9/6 blog post about The Sad Park, the responses in the comments section diverge widely. Some feel that it is an affecting piece, while others pillory its use of children’s responses as exploitative. I guess one can engender controversy without inflammatory cover art.

Composer Michael Gordon