The new indie classical kids on the block, Newspeak, have just released their first video. David T. Little’s composition sweet light crude, featuring soprano Mellissa Hughes in fine voice and the ensemble grooving up a storm, is ready for your delectation on YouTube.
The piece has been given the “jump cuts and jitter” treatment by videographers Satan’s Pearl Horses.
Victoire, a Brooklyn based quintet of female alt-classical performers, is currently doing a mini tour in the Midwest to support the impending September release of their album Cathedral City on New Amsterdam.Matt Marks and Mellissa Hughes are taking their show on the road, performing selections from Matt’s opera Little Death Vol. 1.
Missy Mazzoli and company have been kind enough to allow us to share the title track from the LP on File Under ?’s Tumblrhere. The track combines vocalizing courtesy of Missy with skittering glitchy percussion and a somewhat jazzy harmonic background. Kind of like Julee Cruise meets BoaC on Steely Dan’s patio, sharing drinks with Matmos…
We’ve been spinning Matt Marks’The Little Death: Vol. 1 (New Amsterdam CD) a lot over the past couple of months. It’s a fascinating, but occasionally frustrating work. Marks has described it as a “post-Christian nihilist pop opera,” which is a lot to unpack. Add to that a DIY aesthetic which involved a great deal of home recording. There’s another layer too: deliberate and overt co-opting of religious pop signatures and 80s backing tracks. The work doesn’t let the establish figures they connote off easy, pitting deliberate awkwardness versus unabashed melodicism to mirror creative adolescents in a stifling, sanctimonious atmosphere. Oh, and not to let the cat out of the bag, but it all ends tragically, despite pretty hooks along the way.
Thus, the listener is posed the challenge of untying a Gordian’s knot of cross-references and conundrums; of ironies and parodies. If some aren’t up for the struggle, so be it, but Little Death is a gusty and, apparently, very personal statement from Marks. A particular standout on the recording is soprano Mellissa Hughes, who’s both a dramatic and musical dynamo throughout.
The first staging of the opera will be in New York July 8-17, 2010 at Incubator Arts Project at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery (131 East 10th Street at 2nd Avenue). Marks and Hughes will perform; Rafael Gallegos directs. It’ll be interesting to see how adding visual and theatrical elements impact the work’s already formidable profile.