Ears Embigilisticexpialidocious: Day 4

So yeah, I painted myself into a corner because there is not a fourth degree of superlative. Sue me.

Day 4 dawned early. Stanwyck had arranged an 8 a.m. breakfast date with some lovely Knoxville pals, but I was moving really slow and literally stumbled off the elevator to find Shara Nova waiting for a ride to Blue Hour tech check. We’ve zoomed and emailed a ton since January (big profile coming later this month to Salvation South!) but this was our first face to face. Because I am a starstruck fanboy so respectful of artist’s privacy, I neglected to get a photo of the three of us. But it just goes to show: You miss a lot if you sleep in. read more

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Ears Embiggest: Day 3

Saturday dawned sunny and extremely windy, gusts so strong I was often pushed back a step and forced to walk at a 45* forward tilt. The festival was forced to postpone their parade and street party until Sunday. Yet we soldiered on…

We began our day with the first offering in the John Zorn 70th Birthday celebration. The program was drawn from two albums of a trilogy inspired by Zorn’s interest in Christian mysticism (Nove Cantici Per Francesco D’Assisi and Teresa de Avila). But the real draw was the chance to hear three guitar virtuosi on one stage. Bill Frisell, Julian Lage, and Gyan Riley have chops to spare, but the treat was in witnessing how they played off each other and how the level of listening and mutual respect created a music that transcended compositions that were (*opinion alert – ymmv*) competent if not especially memorable. read more

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Ears Embigger: Day 2

Beginning Friday I abandoned the idea of posting every day. It was all too much. So here we go on catch up.

We took time to visit the Tennessee Triennial at the Knoxville Museum of Art. While we were there we heard Kali Malone sound checking her Living Torch presentation. The atrium at the museum is a fantastic place for immersive listening; the acoustics are lively and deliver dramatically different frequency responses depending on where you are in the room. It sounded fantastic but sadly it was my only trek out to the museum. It’s not really that far from the main venue cluster but somehow feels daunting when dashing from one show to the next. read more

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Ears Embig: Day 1

It was a low key beginning to my festival, but no less wondrous for that. A short summary…

Began my festival with Yarn/Wire, a 2 piano/2 percussion quartet from NY that presented a program of works by Alvin Lucier, Andrew McIntosh, and Misato Mochizuki. It was glorious. I took only one photo all evening, the one up top. It’s a lame attempt at catching the sunset refracted through the stained glass of St. John’s Cathedral, but I looked up and realized that sound and light had merged into a perfect compliment. Yarn/Wire might not look like a “band” in the popular vein, but after 18 years these four musicians have established an uncanny group awareness. They work together like a Swiss watch. read more

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