BIG EARS 09: Adventures in Modern Music
Published 2/4/2009 at 3:59 p.m. 0 comments
The roots of the Big Ears Festival go back to 1979, when Ashley Capps booked his first show, a performance by the free-jazz cellist Tristan Honsinger at the Laurel Theater. Capps has made his professional reputation in the years since ...
BIG EARS 09: Out There
Published 2/4/2009 at 4:02 p.m. 0 comments
If there’s a consistent thread running through the lineup of artists scheduled for the Big Ears Festival, it’s a spirit of adventure. There’s not much else that connects composer Philip Glass to Cincinnati sonic explorer C. Spencer Yeh, who mixes ...
BIG EARS 09: Philip Glass
Published 2/4/2009 at 4:10 p.m. 0 comments
Despite that oft-quoted line—“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture”—music pundits have persisted in trying to pigeonhole, define, or somehow describe the practically indescribable music of Philip Glass. Minimalism is perhaps the most frequent, and unfortunate, term one hears ...
BIG EARS 09: Antony and the Johnsons
Published 2/4/2009 at 4:13 p.m. 1 comment
Break Antony and the Johnsons down to its component parts—frontman Antony Hegarty, a transgendered singer with a multi-octave range and warbly tone and a history in experimental theater and a backing band that includes cello, piano, two violins, horns, and ...
BIG EARS 09: Michael Gira
Published 2/4/2009 at 4:16 p.m. 0 comments
Anyone who’s seen Michael Gira live knows his reputation for intense, visceral performances is well-deserved. Eyes closed, brow furrowed, he delivers his lyrics with an inimitable, resonant baritone, through full-throated bellows and quavering crooning. Live or on recordings, there’s never ...
BIG EARS 09: Fennesz
Published 2/4/2009 at 4:20 p.m. 0 comments
The name may be unfamiliar, but the Austrian sound-sculptor who performs under his surname as Fennesz (his Christian name is Christian) is one of the most imitated, influential electronic artists in the world. It’s not incidental or coincidental that Fennesz ...
BIG EARS 09: Dan Deacon
Published 2/4/2009 at 4:23 p.m. 0 comments
If Phillip Glass is the patron saint of minimalist composition, then surely Dan Deacon is at least the enfant terrible of pop music. The songs on Deacon’s acclaimed 2007 album Spiderman of the Rings are wickedly complex electronic dance pop ...
BIG EARS 09: Neil Hamburger
Published 2/4/2009 at 4:25 p.m. 0 comments
Self-proclaimed “America’s $1 Funnyman” Neil Hamburger hearkens back to a simpler time when men were men and jokes weren’t funny. Clad in an ill-fitting tuxedo and oversized glasses and sporting a greasy Giuliani combover and the ever-present frown of a ...
BIG EARS 09: Jon Hassell
Published 2/4/2009 at 4:28 p.m. 0 comments
Gather up all of your favorite and familiar trumpet sounds: marches, Satchmo, Haydn, ska maybe, Dixieland, Dizzy, the many moods of Miles Davis, what have you. Now put those away, someplace safe, while you consider the music of trumpeter Jon ...
BIG EARS 09: Shaking Ray Levis
Published 2/4/2009 at 4:34 p.m. 0 comments
The Chattanooga-based Shaking Ray Levi Society and the performing duo The Shaking Ray Levis (drummer Bob Stagner and keyboardist/vocal artist Dennis Palmer) have been making a joyful noise just over the hill and occasionally here in Knoxville for going on ...
BIG EARS 09: Matmos
Published 2/4/2009 at 4:38 p.m. 0 comments
It’s hard to say whether a great music experimentalist is unusually focused or just easily distracted. For the moment, at least, Drew Daniel and Martin Schmidt would appear to fall into the latter camp.
BIG EARS 09: The Necks
Published 2/4/2009 at 4:40 p.m. 0 comments
There are only a handful of certainties when pianist Chris Abrahams, drummer Tony Buck, and acoustic bassist Lloyd Swanton, aka The Necks, take to a stage and begin to play. First, they have no idea what’s going to happen. Second, ...
BIG EARS 09: Ned Rothenberg
Published 2/4/2009 at 4:42 p.m. 0 comments
A defining metaphor for the Big Ears Festival comes to mind while chatting via phone with New York City-based reedman Ned Rothenberg. Perhaps the Big Ears Festival’s sensorium-blowing diversity, shoehorned as it is into a mere 50 hours, is the ...
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