Music

Section



Music

2,292 Plants Fill the Audience in Opening Performance at Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu

June 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Gran Teatre del Liceu, shared with permission

This week, Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu held its first performance with a live audience post-coronavirus, but it’s unclear whether the attendees were too green to appreciate Puccini’s “Crisantemi.” Seated in the red, velvet seats and among the gold balconies, 2,292 palms, ficus trees, and Swish cheese plants filled the iconic opera house to listen to the string quartet’s rendition.

A collaboration with Madrid-based artist Eugenio Ampudia and the Max Estrella gallery, the concert was meant to reflect on humans’ relationship with nature. “I thought why don’t we go into the Liceu like weeds, take it over and let nature start growing everywhere and turn it into something alive even when there are no people,” Ampudia said in an interview. After the performance, the leafy audience members were donated to healthcare workers who have been battling the virus during the last few months.

 

 

 



Art Dance Music

A Dramatic Performance by Juilliard Students Brings a Socially Distant Approach to Ravel's Boléro

May 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

Maurice Ravel’s Boléro is a particularly collaborative composition in that it passes the melodic theme through a series of solos. The sequential performances highlight the distinct tones and sounds of each instrument, whether it be a flute, violin, or the anomalous saxophone. In a spectacular new project, dozens of Juilliard students who now are quarantined in their respective homes bring a socially distant approach to the classic orchestral composition. What makes it especially impressive, though, is not just appearances by famous alumni—watch for Yo-Yo Ma, Laura Linney, Patti LuPone, and Itzhak Perlman—but because it coordinates the instrumental piece in addition to a range of dramatic and choreographed elements that appear to transcend individual frames.

In a statement about the project, Juilliard said the hundreds of video clips were filmed separately before being edited and overlayed into a single composition. “Bolero Juilliard, assembled by a team of artists all working from remote locations, is part narrative, part collage. Most of all, it is a collective endeavor that captures a snapshot of a specific global moment and the possibilities of creative connection in an uncertain world,” the school said. The assembled video is “a complex online puzzle with many components being conceived, rehearsed, and produced simultaneously.”

If you enjoyed Juilliard’s project, check out this music video filmed entirely on Zoom and these quarantine dispatches. (via Kottke)

 

 

 



Music Photography

A Touching Film Compiles Quarantine Dispatches from Around the Globe

April 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

Echoing each others’ sentiments of hope and optimism during uncertain times, the folks who contributed to a new short film have joined together despite being thousands of miles apart. “A Social Distance” is a collective look at global life during COVID-19 featuring dozens of people, ranging from a 93-year old Malayan grandmother to a 19-year old Slovenian man, from the 30 most-affected countries.

Directed by Ivan Cash and Jacob Jonas, the crowd-sourced project compiles clips of people’s hand-washing practices, their stocked and bare fridges, and emotional messages about their worries. Some dance to the original score played by various musicians from their respective homes. Despite its anxiety-producing subject matter, though, the compilation is surprisingly hopeful.

Find more work from Cash and Jonas on Vimeo. You also might like this wildly choreographed music video filmed entirely on Zoom.

 

 



Dance Music

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down Films a Synchronized Music Video on a Zoom Call

April 18, 2020

Grace Ebert

Zoom has been having its moment as many companies’ platform of choice for virtual meetings and conference calls, but Thao & the Get Down Stay Down recently found a more creative and amusing use for the digital communication tool. With its tour paused and everyone stuck at home, the Oakland-based band decided to shoot a music video for its new single, “Phenom,” that begins with Thao Nguyen, who leads the indie group, starting a Zoom call.

Centered on the singer, the two-and-a-half minute number features eight dancers who move in choreographed synchronicity across multiple screens. They appear to drip water onto each other and create a single, flexing figure throughout the video.

Nguyen recently told The Verge that the band rehearsed for five hours before taking a day to film the entire piece. Equipped with strong wifi connections, the group utilized a metronome before beginning to ensure they were all on the same beat. “Certain dance moves had to be adjusted to look good in Zoom’s gallery view and didn’t translate if they were too chaotic. We found that the moves had to be really clean and clear and simple. I had to be the focal point and if too much was happening you wouldn’t know exactly where to look,” she said.

Find more of Thao & the Get Down Stay Down’s visual work on Instagram and YouTube, and head to Spotify for a full album archive. (via Uncrate)

 

 



Music

Beatbox Like a World Champion with This 13-Step Tutorial by Butterscotch

April 12, 2020

Grace Ebert

Sure, you can spend your time during quarantine reading a dozen books or scrubbing your cabinets, but what about learning to beatbox from a world champion? Vocal percussionist Butterscotch recently released a 13-step tutorial that guides novices through various beatboxing techniques, from the basic baseline and snare—or what she calls Boots and Cats—all the way to singing and live looping. And for those who have a hard time keeping a beat, the musician even outlines a breathing technique that makes it easier to stay steady. Check out Butterscotch’s Instagram to keep up with her impressive musical projects. (via Kottke)

 

 



Dance Music

A Trio of Dancers Brave Icelandic Temperatures in a Stunning New Music Video for Pianist Hania Rani

April 8, 2020

Grace Ebert

Set against a snow-sprinkled mountain range in Iceland, composer and pianist Hania Rani plays meditative sostenutos on a lone piano in an enthralling new project. Directed by Paris-based filmmaker Neels Castillon, F Major begins with Rani and a figure in the distance before turning its focus to three dancers shot in succession. Their bodies swell and dip across the wind-blown landscape, similar to the musical dynamics.

In a note on the piece, Castillion said Rani’s prolonged runs, the dancers’ hypnotic moves, and the serene landscape proved an unparalleled combination.

Listening to Hania’s music over and over, I began to dream of a single sequence shot that would follow her music floating in the wind of an unreal Icelandic landscape. I asked each dancer to give a personal interpretation of Hania’s song. We were very lucky to succeed in this insane artistic performance despite the great cold (minus 7 Celsius). It was such a moment of truth.

“F Major” is part of Rani’s anticipated album Home, which is scheduled for release in May. More work from the pianist, who splits her time between Warsaw and Berlin, can be found on Instagram and Spotify. To keep up with Castillion’s dreamy pieces, check out his Vimeo and Instagram.