This weekend we’re bringing The Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner to Toronto! I’m happy to make the project’s Canadian debut at the Music Gallery’s Avant X Festival, which is hosting all sorts of interesting events, such as the JEMD afterparty event with Dutty Artz’ DJ Ushka and our Quebecois point-man Poirier!
Remember the color-coded Homeland Security Threat Level system?
Remember how it made you feel?
My latest project is called Enkutatash እንቁጣጣሽ. It’s a participatory music performance transforming security threats into spiritual renewal. It debuts on Thursday September 11th, the Ethiopian New Year (Ethiopia uses its own calendar system) in Washington D.C. Continue reading →
This Sunday I’m presenting the Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner at the Bang On A Can Marathon in lower Manhattan. The event is free. The lineup is stellar. We go on in late afternoon right after the incredible Meredith Monk! (Eastman sang on Monk’s Dolmen Music) Other performers include Jherek Bischoff, Roomful of Teeth, So Percussion. Info.
I am off to Mexico City, Distrito Federal, to perform at the Vive Latino festival this weekend. DF is without a doubt one of the world’s most incredible cities — friend visiting for the first time just wrote me: “Such an incredible place, oozing with humanity from every opening… the hustlers, the colors, the shrines everywhere, the highway underpasses playing midi classical music, those guys in the official outfits playing those weird piano boxes from another century…”
Adding to the already overloaded megalopolis, Vive Latino has created a massive musician vortex with many good friends in town: Helado Negro, Ceci Bastida, Sonido Martines, Javier Estrada, Boogat, DJ Rashad, Chancha Via Circuito, and more will perform. I’m particularly excited to be on a lineup with legendary sonidero soundsystem Sonido La Changa!
My new album — the first under my own name — was released last week! The Julius Eastman Memory Depot. There’s been a wave of great, thoughtful press: an action-packed feature on my work in The Guardian, a 7.8 Pitchfork review, a spot on NPR, and lots more. If you’d like to buy the album, Bandcamp offers downloads & physical CDs for the best price/money-to-artist ratio, or you can use iTunes | Amazon etc. This WQXR album-of-the-week profile is an excellent introduction to the project.
I’m doing 5 performances of The Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner this April, accompanied by a dream team of talent: pianists David Friend and Emily Manzo, vocalist Arooj Aftab, and special guest Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts. Arooj wrote the closing song with me, and it gives you a taste of the additional scenes included in the live performance version. These shows are not to be missed! Two grand pianos and electronics makes for lovely sonics, the musicians are top-notch… plus my actorly debut?! April dates below:
Tues April 2 – I’ll be speaking on ‘Rights, Rogues, Refugees’ panel at FFFFFAT LAB’s Gold show @ Eyebeam. I intend to explain my ideas of NON-LINEAR LEGAL POWER via cumbia sonidera, stop & frisk, and copyright’s cold watch
Wed April 3 – talk at intermedia class @ U. of Cincinnati/DAAP 1:30-3:30pm. JEMD/Sufi Plug Ins. Open to public!
Fri April 5 – unofficial JEMD afterparty in Cincinnati
Fri April 12 – DJ /rupture at Zemos98 Festival in Sevilla, Spain !!!
Wed April 17 – Keynote talk at Brooklyn College’s Caribbean Studies Conference.
Fri April 18 – ‘Migrant Locals’ all-star panel at EMP Conference, NYC, moderated by Wayne Marshall
This Saturday March 16th, I will join L.A.’s contagiously fun latin roots dance band Very Be Careful for a welcome-the-spring-with-a-sweat-sacrifice party at Brooklyn’s Littlefield! VBC specialize in fast accordion jams throwing in vallenato, cumbia, and more. For this special set, I’ll play mostly NYC cumbia poblana, joined by Oaxacan malandrín Talacha on the mic, sonidero style. For a taste of what we’ll bring, you can pick up our mix CD with Sonido Martines available only Tacos Zaragoza in the East Village (ask for it!), or check the excerpt below.
This Saturday I’ll be playing a very special show with Zs as part of the Ecstatic Music Festival here in NYC’s lovely sounding Merkin Concert Hall. (I recorded the twin pianos on my upcoming album, The Julius Eastman Memory Depot, at the Merkin.) Saturday will open with 2 half-hour solo sets from the Zs & I. Then — after an intermission! — comes an hourlong collaborative piece. This is where thing’ll get really interesting. Some notes from our brainstorm/plotting session:
It’s been a long time since I’ve had an opportunity to do a semi-improvised semi-structured collaboration with musicians. Despite the much-lauded (and real) dancer-DJ hive mind, it’s hard to shake off the legacy of DJ as perpetual soloist. In other words: it’s great fun to explore the turntables as an ensemble instrument & that’s why Saturday’s concert is so appealing to me.
In addition, you can do all sorts of things (like play with quietLOUD dynamics) at a seated venue that would be literally impossible (or at least inaudible) in da club. While this sort of experimental festival arrangement can happen fairly frequently in Europe, it is a true rarity stateside. So I strongly encourage you to come out & support. Damage is $25 but it’ll be worth it, and it’s my last hometown gig as DJ /rupture for awhile.
SATURDAY KEYWORDS: Wolf Government, Sufi Plug Ins, Needlework, Cloud Mechanic, Empty Gymnasium.
BONUS: I’ll have my hands-on-mixer projection setup going (photo above), which is like free DJ lessons for turntablists and follow-the-chaos/demystification for everyone else.
FUN FACT: Zs drummer Greg Fox (who is involved in 6 thousand cool projects including Guardian Alien, Ben Frost, former Liturgy etc) uses Sufi Plug Ins in this wild arpeggiated way, which you’ll get to hear.
Here are two images I instagramed while recording @ the Merkin this December:
Tomorrow I’m off to Beirut for the Share Conference, “a weekend-long public, free and non-commercial hybrid event blending an Internet culture and technology related daytime conference with dynamic cutting-edge music festival by night.” I’ll be doing double duty: a daytime artist talk on Sunday October 7th, and a conference-closing DJ set that night. First time in Lebanon, looking fwd!
From there I head to Istanbul for the opening of the Istanbul Design Biennial, where we’re taking over a room to install Sufi Plug Ins & John Francis Peters’ Morocco photographs. Beyond Digital by the Bosphorus! Last time I was in Turkey was a dozen years ago, touring with Wax Poetic & Norah Jones before she was (the) Norah Jones. Everyone says the city has changed more than any other in this time, turned ‘hip’, skyrocketed.
[screenshot from Sufi Plug Ins’ clapping drum machine, PALMAS]
This Thursday evening, Bill Bowen & I will present SUFI PLUG INs at Public Enemy producer Hank Shocklee’s Advanced Ableton Users meetup in Manhattan. Free with RSVP, live streaming. 7:30-10pm.
& on Friday Lamin Fofana and I are heading up to perform at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, where will be joined by DJ Rizzla for a night of ‘DJs on the Harbor’, throwing down at their lovely waterfront space. Come through!
Dear Canada, this Sunday’s free lakeside event in Toronto looks to be truly epic. All sorts of multimedia installations & interventions, a pool & lake to dip in, and music provided by friends Venus X, Maga Bo, Poirier, Dos Mundos, and myself. See you there! FIRE ON THE WATER.