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Originally posted on December 30, 2010

Dither played Abrons Art Center earlier this month, performing new and “incubating” works written or arranged for the electric guitar quartet, who performed with their usual virtuosic ease.  See clips from the concert in the video above.

First on the set was Eve Beglarian’s Garden of Cyrus, which was originally written in 1985 for electronics in the twelve tone technique of composition.  Newly arranged for Dither, this engrossing piece gives the impression of bright strands of sound alternately aligning and going out of synch with each other.

Next came Ted Hearne’s Aberrations, a work in progress that will eventually be about an hour long and separated into movements.  Intricately fashioned, prominent in this movement is the creation of a single line whose individual notes are played in succession by each of the four guitarists.  Devilishly tricky to play (though Dither rose to the occasion with aplomb), splitting up the line in this way gives it an intriguing three-dimensional quality.

Nick Didkovsky’s expansive, expressive Vox Requiem followed.  The full title is Vox Requiem in Memoriam Ronny James Dio, and was inspired by the singer’s unique vocal quality.  Written in the style of minimalist-concert-piece-meets-heavy-metal-epic, the piece’s sweeping melodies were clearly reminiscent of the vehement passion of Dio’s singing style.

Last on the set was a workshop version of Tristan Perich’s Interference Logic for electric guitar quartet and one-bit multichannel system.  The six speakers of the multichannel system acted as a sort of second group, with Dither at times not playing at all while the one-bit group played “solo.”  The rhythmic, repetitive nature of the music and the interplay between Dither and the one-bit sounds reaped an  intense, vivid sound.

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Originally posted on December 14, 2010

Christy & Emily played their “one and only NYC duo show for a long, long while,” at Union Pool last weekend—the duo usually perform with bassist and drummer nowadays—before heading back into the recording studio.  It was a frigid Sunday night, but inside the Wurlitzer/electric guitar duo’s energy got the blood running again.  Some favorites, like “Firefly” and “Little World” were on the setlist, as well as some new material.  Check out the penultimate song on the video above for a clip of a hauntingly rich tune, with sensuous Wurlitzer bass-line and intimately intertwining vocal melodies.

Originally posted on November 19, 2010

Corey Dargel‘s art-pop song collection, “Hold Yourself Together,” was performed for the first time last Friday, at Issue Project Room.  Listen to clips of the six-song set in the video above.

The clever rhymes deal—sometimes humorously—with the disingenuous urge, while the music is imbued with a pleasurable sadness, making for catchy songs that strike deeply.

Originally posted on October 8, 2010

The second installment of the new music series, Music at First, happened last Friday, with two sets: amplified doublebass, played by Eleonore Oppenheim and accompanied by electronics, and songs played on handmade instruments by Lesley Flanigan.

Fortunately, yours truly was able to catch some clips of the show on camera. Check out the video above to listen, and to hear interviews with Eleonore Oppenheim and Music at First creator and director, composer Wi| Smith, who wrote for Eleonore one of the pieces shown in the video.

Originally posted on October 2, 2010

Bruar Falls was full to capacity and then some Saturday night. Those who waited out the fifteen-minute line were rewarded with, among others, a Mirah music video release, Sara Marcus reading from her book Girls to the Front, and a set by indie-innovators Christy & Emily (not to mention the occasional, unintentional full body grind from the enthusiastic crowd).

Christy & Emily, who successfully employ a panoply of styles to create their own unique sound, opened with the brooding groove of “Firefly,” followed by the chilling “Little World,” seething with anxiety ready to break the controlled surface of the music.

Also on the set was the dreamy, forlorn “Lover’s Talk,” a song “about making out even when you know it’s not a good idea,” and the driving, upwards octave-leaps of “Beast,” which takes a sharp turn about halfway through, turning into hovering sound-shimmer.

Originally posted on September 25, 2010

Music-makers and -lovers gathered for baked goods and a night of eclectic performances at the Second Annual New Music Bake Sale in Brooklyn on Saturday (see kleineKultur’s review of the first one here.)

Yours truly caught two sets out of ten: Dither with special guests Mantra Percussion, and pianist Kathleen Supové, with a cameo by singer Corey Dargel.

Dither and Mantra performed—along with “The Garden of Cyrus” by Eve Beglarian and “Metal Vacation” by Ches Smith—some of Eric km Clark’s Deprivations pieces, in which the performers experience visual-deprivation (achieved with headbands), as well as aural-deprivation via headphones through which piped a combination of white noise (to block out the other musicians) and pre-recorded instructions from the composer.  Check out an excerpt of this protean set here.

Kathleen Supové took the stage next, starting with Missy Mazzoli’s expansively passionate “Isabelle Eberhardt Dreams of Pianos,” for piano and pre-recorded track.  Corey Dargel then joined her in a couple selections from his eccentric piece Removable Parts (be prepared to have the end of “Sincerely Yours” stick in your head for awhile—in a good way).  Supové closed with the athletic “On Track”  by Anna Clyne.  Check out Supové’s set here.

Originally posted on September 10, 2010

“Since we’re in an organ loft, we thought we’d play you some organ music.”  So electric guitar quartet Dither began their set on Friday night, the opening show in the series Music at First, playing their own arrangement of a dolefully quiescent organ piece by Arvo Pärt.  Next came a work by Ches Smith, using a rough and clangy guitar effect, which was fitting for music that sounded like machinery in motion.

Dither’s own Joshua Lopes wrote the next piece, which sounded clear and bright, and out of whose hocket textures arose bold, sweeping melodies.  Lisa Coons’ “Prolix” (reviewed previously on kleineKultur here) featured dense textures created by the four guitarists recording loops live and then playing over them.  Getting to watching the mechanical act of loop-recording—always on the cue of one of the guitarists—while listening to the piece was just plain cool.

Last on the set was Wil Smith’s fulminating “Telegraph,” for three electric guitars and electric bass, whose fast strumming and visceral gestures built in intensity until at the end it became like a rising panic; and just when reconciliation to this acute state began, the piece abruptly ended.