OtB is thrilled to present a bill featuring the otherworldly & “irresistibly beautiful” (Spin) Antony and the Johnsons, the neo-folk singer/songwriter Devendra Banhart, the eerie yet enchanting Casady sisters CocoRosie and ambient composer William Basinski.
The bill was programmed by OtB’s Artistic Director Lane Czaplinski with the line up curated by Antony who was excited about an opportunity to play in OtB’s listening-conducive theater with some of his favorite musical influences (and friends). In an article written by Kurt B. Reighley in TimeOut New York, Antony was quoted as saying, “I’m really excited about what’s going on culturally right now. This is the first time in my life where I wake up and go, ‘Oh, I’m alive during the right time!’” He cites Devendra Banhart, CocoRosie and ambient composer William Basinski as among the artists who are helping him usher in a new zeitgeist - “I’m naming it the Time of Flourishing Beauty.”
Antony and the Johnsons
“But what makes Antony such a potent artist-Lou Reed, Boy George, and Rufus Wainwright are fans , and all sing on I Am a Bird Now – is his voice. It’s a warbling tenor that can hit almost falsettolike highs and rumbling, extraordinarily soulful lows. (Reed says that Antony is “a magnificent singer, an heir to the wondrous Jimmy Scott.”) –New York Magazine (2005)
In Summer 2004, Antony signed to the Indiana based label Secretly Canadian, who released the new Antony and the Johnsons album I Am a Bird Now in February 2005 to critical acclaim, including a four star rating from Rolling Stone. Antony first presented his songs in after-hours cabarets at the Pyramid in NYC. After receiving a N.Y.F.A. fellowship for "performance art / emergent forms," Antony assembled the Johnsons and recorded his first album. The group presented concerts at The Kitchen and Knitting Factory before beginning a residency at Joe's Pub at the Public Theater. Antony and the Johnsons have since performed at venues including the Bloomsbury theater in London, Central Park SummerStage, the Nancy Jazz Festival, the Warhol Museum, the Wexner Center, Townhall in NYC, MASS MOCA, and Royce Hall, UCLA. Antony sings on Lou Reed's albums The Raven and Animal Serenade and toured with Lou Reed internationally in 2003. Antony appeared as an androgynous convict singing to a crowd of inmates in Steve Buscemi's film Animal Factory. He also appeared recently singing "I Fell in Love to a Dead Boy" to a crowd of empathetic Parisian transsexuals in Sebastien Lifshitz's latest film Wilde Side.
Antony was featured in the 2004 Whitney Biennial; he collaborated with Charles Atlas to stage a 3 night sold out series at Saint Ann's Warehouse in NYC called TURNING. A concert and live video installation, TURNING featured Antony and the Johnsons playing before a cast of 13 slowly revolving Beauties, whose images were simultaneously processed and projected onto a giant screen. Antony and the Johnsons' first recordings were released by David Tibet on his label, Durtro in the UK. Antony's "The Lake" was included on Devendra Banhart's recent Bastet compilation The Golden Apples of the Sun.
“His 2002 debut album… rocked the critics with its ditzy, open-hearted warblings, and made him a name to watch.” –Beta Music (2004)
24 year old singer/songwriter, Devendra Banhart, has lived in Texas, Venezuela, Los Angeles, San Francisco & New York. While he began casually writing songs at the age of twelve, he began performing more frequently in his late teens. After being asked to sing a couple of songs at his roommates’ wedding he became inspired and increased his dedication to songwriting and performing, mostly in restaurants and pubs. In 2000 he dropped out of art school and moved to Paris where he was discovered by the owner of a small club who chose him to open shows for indi rock bands. He continued to write and record songs, both on a borrowed four-track and on a friend’s answering machine. Arriving back in the US in the fall of 2000, he continued to perform in casual venues. After moving to NYC he was signed by Young God Records and released his debut album in 2002. He suddenly received a wave of press acclaim, 3 or 4 US tours and tours in Europe.
“…what a dream it is. CocoRosie mess with meter and measure to create creepy and bewitching songscapes. Blending trip-hop, jazz and blues loosely led by guitar, piano, flute and weird, ambient sounds (chains, roosters, toys), the duo use their siren voices for sociopolitical rabble-rousing.” -Rolling Stone (2004)
CocoRosie is made up of sisters Bianca and Sierra Casady. Sierra sings and plays guitar and flute, while Bianca sings and does percussion (rattles things, makes things squeak, shakes a gold chain belt). They write all the music for CocoRosie together. Growing up in separate households, the Casady sisters each experimented with music throughout childhood. Sierra began her exploration of singing with gospel and spirituals, and continued her devotion studying as an opera singer starting in high school, then touring to Rome, NY and Paris. Although she attained many accolades from the world of classical opera she felt something missing from the opera vernacular. Bianca started writing songs at nine; bad love songs, poems, stories and to do lists. She began singing a capella in the shower, on the corner, and in dimly-lit squats and speakeasies. After flying to Paris on a whim she called Sierra from the airport and asked to stay for a time. Reunited over the next several months in a tiny Parisian flat, they made la Maison de Mon Reve, their first album – released in early 2004. They have recently toured with Devendra Banhart in Europe, and opened for Bright Eyes for a 2 ½ week US tour. They are working on material for a new album due out September 2005.
“The music… is beautiful, subtle, sad, frightening, confusing, and ultimately uplifting. What's he created here is a living document: a field recording of orchestrated decay. It sounds like nothing else I've heard, yet, at its core, it's the simplest and most familiar music I can imagine.” -Stylus (2004)
William Basinski is a classically trained musician and composer who has been working in experimental media for over 25 years in NYC. His epic 4-disc masterwork, The Disintegration Loops has received international critical acclaim and is available through 2062 (www.mmlxii.com) The Disintegration Loops was chosen as one of the top 50 albums of 2004 by Pitchfork Media. Art Forum selected The River, his transcendental 2-disc release on RasterNoton (www.raster-noton.de), as one of the top ten albums of 2003. Installations and films made in collaboration with artist-filmmaker, James Elaine have been presented internationally, most recently at REDCAT at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles for The Museum of Contemporary Art’s VISUAL MUSIC Exhibition. Their film, Variations, premiered at the Rotterdam International Film Festival and will be released in a DVD edition by IDEA Records (www.idea.com) in 2005.