Bang on a Can
The rave Pitchfork review was for a 12-C.D. retrospective of Oliveros' electronic and tape works from 1961-1970, on the (correctly named) Important Records imprint, with their “best new reissue” garland. “I read that review and I was really pleased with it!” Oliveros said. “I thought [the writer] just did a beautiful job.… Because there were very few of my '60s electronic pieces that had been out, in recordings. Most of my material on this 12-C.D. set has been sitting on the shelf all that time.” This weekend, Oliveros and her Deep Listening Band will come to the World Financial Center’s Winter Garden, as part of this year’s 12-hour Bang On A Can Marathon. Oliveros says they’ll be playing three pieces during their set, which is scheduled to start in the 4 p.m. hour of the Sunday festival.
Tatsuya Yoshida is the drummer of the long-running Japanese noise-rock duo Ruins. For three decades, his principal band has pounded its gospel of rhythmically complex, quasi-improvised thrash across the globe. (The duo collaborated memorably with British free-improvisational guitar hero Derek Bailey in the late 90s.) But it would take the Asphalt Orchestra—the Bang On A Can house “marching band”—to commission a suite of music by Yoshida to bring into Alice Tully Hall’s Starr Theater.
"I don't really think of music in terms of dance," David Lang said the other day. "I don't really like the idea of writing for dance. What dance needs from music is not very interesting to me."
Coming from a composer—a Pulitzer Prize winner and co-founder of the legendary experimental music collective Bang on a Can—who has had significant success writing for choreography, those are blunt and surprising words. In New York, in the last two weeks alone, there have been two major showpieces of Lang-composed dances, one at the Guggenheim featuring two choreographers and the dancers of Morphoses, and one at New York City Ballet, choreographed by Benjamin Millepied.
All of that, and much more, actually took place during yesterday's marathon, which lasted from noon to midnight. Like a great tasting menu, the experience defies bullet-point summary. Among the highlights from the 32 courses on offer was "Professor Bad Trip," a sonic layer cake scored for strings and brass, as well as electronics, guitar and bass. The piece, by Italian composer Fausto Romitelli, was a North American premiere, though the programmers claimed it has a cult following in Europe. It's easy to see why, given Romitelli's pairings of ear-rattling bass frequencies with distorted cello stabbings, and wah-wah guitar riffs backed with gong work. During hour seven, I rose for dinner, and promptly missed German composer Mortiz Eggert playing the piano with his butt. (I was alerted to this happening by the Twitter hashtag #asspiano.)(1)