PREMIERE: wild Up, Jodie Landau - "as I wait for the lion" from 'you of all things' (Bedroom)
If, indeed, there ever was an East Coast vs. West Coast battle brewing in the worlds of contemporary classical music, then we've reached a stalemate. At least.
Bringing in the big gongs, last year, both the Pulitzer and GRAMMY went to Alaska's native son (albeit just back from New York), John Luther Adams. For his ecological opus Become Ocean, recorded with maestro Morlot's Seattle Symphony. (Younger Brooklyn composer Chris Cerrone--with whom we'll be posting our Classicalite Q&A next week--won congeniality for Invisible Cities, recorded downtown at Los Angeles' Union Station under the ever industrious Yuval Sharon.)
And while, this April, Columbia U. named Julia Wolfe's ecological opus Anthracite Fields its winner, that work's physical release (recorded with Julian Wachner's downtown Trinity Choir) last week came care of the Cantaloupe label -- yes, the same one that put out Adams' award-winner.
Curious, maybe. Coincidental? No, not hardly. Call it endemic to baby boomer totalism; the closest the greatest generation's kids got to a common practice. Period.
That said, ensemble-wise, there are cardinal distinctions to be made in the sounds now gushing out of Brooklyn and East L.A. millennials.
Influenced (frequently incapacitated) by the Wolfe-Gordon-Lang trinity of Bang on a Can, new(er) music New York has become decidedly more anxious, viscerally overwrought at times. Which makes a certain sense for Gothamites, of course. BoAC meets Pierrot clones like NOW Ensemble, Cerrone's own Invisible Giant collective (which lost Ted Hearne to Southern Cal), a lot of the New Amsterdam School writ large, well, there's no real denying their innate New York-ness.
California, meanwhile, has always been harder of hearing. Call that manifest destiny.
Often surprisingly academic, be it the hip, young tapeslingers of yore up north at Mills College, modern-day Mortons in Michael Pisaro's CalArts studio down in Santa Clarita, or American mavericks like Harry Partch bumming in between, that's simply because it's just more plural.
So, what does new and emerging music from L.A. sound like nowadays? At large, I haven't the faintest. I do know, though, that a group as mercurial as wild Up--and especially the manifold voices of one Jodie Landau--could only hail from the Golden State.
Specifically, area code 310.
Premiering here on Classicalite, by their numbers anyways, you'll hear a mix as open and as carefree as Highway 101. Whereas, simultaneously, as intimate, as huddled as the mass of hybrids piled bumper-to-bumper on the 110.
Settle in, then, as wild Up founder Christopher Rountree leads the shimmering, beguiling "as I wait for the lion," the eighth track off of you of all things, out today from Valgeir Sigurðsson's Bedroom Community.
In like a lamb with two harps, crescendo to a lion of crotales and vibes (both played by Mr. Landau, as he did in Cerrone's almost Pulitzer), out like the lamb, a cappella, once more, it's a gnomologia in glorious arch form.
"You evolve," he sings. Twice.
Now, whether that person is actually he or, instead, a noun of direct adress, here's the booklet.
Regardless, save for some of fellow Bedroom boarder Nico Muhly's mothertongues, Landau has no East Coast foil. And barely 20 years young, he's not yet wont a rival either.
No stranger to alt venues, wild Up and Landau's album release show will take place at an old bra factory in L.A.'s Rampart District (interestingly enough, across from Brooklyn Bagel) on Friday, October 16 at 9 p.m. The program includes arrangements of Björk, Classicalite favorite Shara Worden's MBD and a piece written expressly for Landau by Sigurðsson, himself.
wild Up makes its New York City debut 8 p.m. on Tuesday, October 20 in downtown Brooklyn at Roulette with "WEST," certainly a highlight of the American Composers Orchestra's SONiC Festival. It's a revamped reprise from the group's über-popular Hammer Museum residency, wherein Michael Pisaro's student Julia Holter, her/wild violinist Andrew Tholl and wild's staff multi-instrumentalist Chris Kallmyer share the bill with tunes from, no kidding, Fear and Misfits.
Where eagles dare, you say? You better think about it, baby.© 2016 The Classical Art, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.