In the March 28 New York magazine, Justin Davidson writes, “For decades, New York has been a composers’ playground—or is it battleground? … Three recent, overlapping festivals—Ecstatic Music at Merkin Concert Hall, Tune-In at the Park Avenue Armory, and Tully Scope at Lincoln Center—offered a portrait of a new New York School, high on amped-up minimalism, percussion-heavy beats, shimmering textures, loops, drones, and washes of electronic color. These composers in their thirties worry less about categories, narrative, and originality than about atmosphere, energy, and sound. … The city teems with conservatory-trained musicians who, like [composer and Battles guitarist Tyondai] Braxton, have never experienced the Berlin Wall that once sundered pop from classical and art from entertainment. … For the YouTube generation, technology also grants entrance to a virtually infi ite thrift store of influences. A century ago, Bartók had to haul his gramophone through the mud of Moravia to learn about folk music. Now a curious kid in Brooklyn can track down an Azerbaijani song in seconds. Today’s styles need not be born of deep experience; they form out of collisions that bypass history and geography. No combination is too weird.” Besides Braxton, Davidson discusses the work of composers Dan Deacon, Paul Haas, Bora Yoon, Paul Fowler, Judd Greenstein, Timo Andres, Jefferson Friedman, Missy Mazzoli, and Valgeir Sigurðsson.
Posted March 22, 2011