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eighth blackbird Release New Album, 'Hand Eye,' with Sleeping Giant

By Philip Trapp on Apr 07, 2016 12:31 AM EDT

Grammy Award winners eighth blackbird are back at it again with new album, Hand Eye. Their collaboration with the composers collective of Sleeping Giant, the suite was toured by the group throughout the past year.

The album presents a colorful fusion of the acclaimed sextet performing original work by the six composers of Sleeping Giant. According to a press release from the group, each composer's contribution was inspired by a work of art:

"The six pieces that comprise Hand Eye are Checkered Shade by Timo Andres, South Catalina by Chris Cerrone, Conduit by Robert Honstein, Mine, Mime, Meme by Andrew Norman, By-By Huey by Ted Hearne, and Cast by Jacob Cooper. These pieces were inspired by works of art in the private collection of Maxine and Stuart Frankel."

The Hand Eye performance was originally commissioned by Carnegie Hall and the Frankels' arts endowment foundation for the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival. In promotion of the album release, the group will continue to perform the piece across the U.S. this spring.

The touring version of the presentation includes projected visuals by performance design troupe CandyStations, who have supplied interactive stage backdrops for the likes of Wilco, St. Vincent, and Sufjan Stevens.

eighth blackbird delighted concert audiences just this past weekend with two performances at Knoxville, Tennessee's Big Ears Festival. Concertgoers were treated to a special collaborative performance from the group featuring Bryce Dessner and Will Oldham.

The unique variety of eighth blackbird's performances, combined with each player's instrumental talent, contribute to the ensemble's critical and commercial success. In an interview with University Musical Society, founding flutist Tim Munrro cited each member's distinctiveness as an important part of their presentations:

"The diversity of the programming just reflects the diversity of different proclivities within the ensemble. Each performer in eighth blackbird is part of the artistic direction of the collective. We are all music directors of eighth blackbird and we are all coming from very different places."

Hand Eye was an exclusive early release to Apple Music subscribers from April 1. The album will be available at other outlets beginning this Friday, April 8.

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Tagseighth blackbird, Sleeping Giant, Bryce Dessner, Will Oldham