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This year’s MATA Festival is the largest yet featuring seven full days of music and lectures curated by Outgoing Artistic Director Yotam Haber.

The festival runs from April 14th - 21st at The Kitchen and tickets are available HERE.

In the MATA tradition, this year’s festival includes the work of 34 composers, all under the age of 40 at the time of their submission, representing 17 countries! This week long event is a celebration of the music of young and emerging artists from all around the world and has helped kick-start the careers of musicians such as Jennifer Higdon, Nico Muhly, and David T. Little. 

I’m lucky enough to be attending two evenings, April 16th and 17th, of this zeitgeist-defining festival and I couldn’t be more excited to be there and witness the music that will be remembered tomorrow today. 

Here’s a small breakdown of the festival, for complete listings and information on the pieces be sure to visit www.matafestival.org

Wednesday, April 16th
Between Noise and Silence - Uusinta Ensemble

Thursday, April 17th
The Which Remains - Vicky Chow, Matt Evans, Marina Kifferstein, Carolyn Chen, and others

Friday, April 18th
Lives in Miniature - Talea Ensemble and Ekmeles

Saturday, April 19th
Matra

Sunday, April 20th
Matinee Concert - Neue Vocalsolisten

Monday, April 21st
Of Circles and Motions of the Others - Manta Percussion and MIVOS String Quartet

This year is just filled to the brim with New York, American, and World premieres! Check back here later this week for my full report on Wednesday and Thursday’s shows!

Today, one of my favorite up and coming bands, Walking Shapes, digitally release their debut album Taka Come On, out on vinyl April 19th!

Fresh off their residency at one of Brooklyn’s hottest venues, Baby’s All Right, and in the middle of their spring tour, this band’s tenacity and grit is matched only in the tones and rhythms of their music so evocative of the cityscape that shaped their sound. Resonating somewhere between iconic Brooklyn grime and intricate yet inclusive experimental musicianship, Walking Shapes are by no means a one note band. Charged with chaotic contemplation, this album is the perfect soundtrack to the city shaking off winter and humming back into Spring.

For a taste of the album, check out the video of “Winter Fell” premiered by The Village Voice HERE

If you like what you hear, stay tuned for the full-length album music video that I’ll be sure to post back here just as soon as its released and mark your calendars for April 24th and 25th where they’ll be playing two shows in NYC.The first is at The Bowery Electric and the second is at DROM. Buy tickets for one or both dates - you certainly won’t regret it!

Last evening, Pete Seeger passed away at the age of 94.

With a career that spanned more than 70 years, Seeger’s influence in the contemporary folk scene is unparalleled, the lives he touched and moved innumerable. 

It’s hard to know what to say when such a great man could cast such a long shadow, but that was the thing about Pete Seeger, the sun was always directly above him. People great and small, children and elderly alike, stood atop their darkness in his presence. When his music played, there was only light.

Take a moment today to listen, marvel, and reflect.

Kylie Minogue released the lyric video for her new single “Into the Blue” today and I am a happy gay. Her new album, Kiss Me Once will be out March 17th. Happy early birthday to me.

That’s it. That’s all I have to say.

I’ve been able to get myself to some wonderful music over the past two weeks and now I’ve finally got the time to give these artists deserve.

The first on my list is Jherek Bischoff who played two talent-packed performances back to back at St. Ann’s Warehouse. I got to see the Wednesday evening performance, the first flexing of this powerhouse team of creative muscle. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. 

The format of the concert recalled a classical environment - the ensemble, contemporaneous, already on stage with violins, clarinets, and trumpets resting on laps waiting for the performance to begin with the entrance of the conductor, David Bloom, and the man of the hour himself, Mr. Bischoff. Taking the stage, Bischoff gave us a little hint of the attitude of the evening, sporting a traditional tuxedo and an amazing pair of patent gold shoes. There’s a brief pause as Mr. Bloom raises his hands to cue the start, instruments are tucked under chins and brought to lips. Bischoff and Bloom exchange a glance and house explodes with electrifying music.

These players did not sit stiff and simply play off the score, but engaged with the same rock and roll flare and sexy confidence as their five-piece band counterparts. Bloom masterfully articulated the music through wrist and fingertips with the swagger and command of an animation dancer. Bischoff knelt besides the featured instrumentalists and the two performers riffed off each other’s electric energy. No, this was not a sit down ensemble. 

The first half featured Bischoff’s own music, and with names like Sondre Lerche, Mirah, and living legend David Byrne supporting you, it’s easy to understand how any artist may wish to pass along the microphone. No, Bischoff didn’t sing at all for this performance but between the charismatic music and even more endearing stage banter, Bischoff shone among his guests.

The second half of the performance featured songs by the guest artists as arranged by Bischoff, shedding a new light on some classic favorites as well as songs new to everyone. Nika Danilova (aka Zola Jesus) was a particular stand out for me, performing with an intimidating intensity and control. It nearly goes without saying that the highlight of the evening was having the pleasure to watch David Byrne perform. Despite his iconic status there was an inviting intimacy about the performance and he often looked to and engaged with the young performers. 

I left the concert with a great feeling of impact, not only because I had just heard gorgeous music, but also because it was the type of collaborative experience that imparts faith in the possible. Genres can and should be defied, fame and status are only obstacles if you let them be, and if you’re good, if you possess a true passion for your art, as Bischoff and all the performers on that stage clearly did, others will support, love, and be changed by you. The artist’s job is to create, but it is the audience’s lot to let themselves be transformed - and I for one had no trouble surrendering. 

Check out this song by my good friend Lissy! It’s a sweet listen on a cold day like today - there’s something about seeing your breath hang in the air that begs introspection. Listen and let this song warm you up a bit!

Also be sure to follow her tumblr HERE.

If you’re like me and didn’t get the chance to listen to Lucius' performance on World Cafe live, here's your chance to listen to the full program. 

I don’t have enough praise for this band. Delivering what is easily the best Indie Pop album of 2013, and possibly ever (in my humble opinion), Lucius proved with the release of Wildewoman that they are an incredible force to be reckoned with. Then when you hear them live you realize your mp3, restricted by the studio, is just the body. The soul of this music, the real abandon they possess, is shockingly present in their performances. 

I like to think of Wildewoman as an audio Rorschach test - the lyrics are vague enough, but the music leading enough that you can hear the entire emotional spectrum and take from it, not only what you want, but also what you need. This interview of Holly and Jess sheds a little bit of light on their intent as a band, but I think this principle still holds strong.

Spare the 30 minutes, they’ll be spent doing the best thing you’ve done all day.

Have a band, artist, or upcoming concert you think I should know about?

Inquiries should now be sent to:

medusas.musings@gmail.com

In the meantime, I’ve got some belated reviews in store, and plenty of other great shows to let you know about! Stay tuned!

By now it should be pretty obvious that I’m a big fan of Phantogram. Today they released another single off their upcoming album, “VOICES,” and it is yet another seductive tease to follow “Fall In Love” and just make me make for February 18th.