Thorns All Over Release Album Party
Washed-out guitars, mangled percussion, out-of-tune pianos and disembodied vocals teetering on the edge of atonality are the vehicle for these texts of obsession, love, loss and mania, voices of victims and perpetuators, women and men driven mad and crossing the line.
Jay Vilnai ("A formidable composer, the missing link between Rasputina and Bernard Herrmann" - Lucid Culture) celebrates the release of his album "Thorns All Over", an electro-acoustic collection of contemporary murder ballads penned by poet Rachel Abramowitz. Washed-out guitars, mangled percussion, out-of-tune pianos and disembodied vocals teetering on the edge of atonality are the vehicle for these texts of obsession, love, loss and mania, voices of victims and perpetuators, women and men driven mad and crossing the line. In addition to himself on guitar, vocals and other instruments, the album features contributions by some of NYC's finest musicians, including Laura Brenneman, Ben Holmes, Quince Marcum, Oscar Noriega, Reuben Radding, Browneyes Bopper, Katie Scheele, Skye Steele and David Wechsler.
The program also includes a performance by mezzo-soprano Augusta Caso of Vilnai's "There's a Bluebird in My Heart" for voice and tape, based on the poetry of Charles Bukowski. Both pieces are accompanied by animation and projected art by artist Bill Mazza.
$15 tickets include a download of "Thorns All Over".
Vilnai’s music is at once new and familiar, reflecting the current, vital generation of Brooklyn artists in the embryonic 21st century - a generation that explores how this plurality of heritages can add up to something meaningful and beautiful. Vilnai’s compositions have been performed by Jen Baker, Will Lang, Gelsey Bell, OMNI Ensemble, New York Trombone Consort, Augusta Caso and ai ensemble. His recent work draws heavily on production techniques of contemporary pop music, marrying that timbral soundscape to his extended sense of tonality, chromaticism and rhythm, creating a new kind of art song that is updated for the 21st century. His 2011 release ‘Shakespeare Songs’, featuring the MIVOS quartet and singer Gelsey Bell was said by Lucid Culture to possess ‘creepy otherworldliness’, and ‘ghostly ambience’, and was a finalist for the 2014 American Prize.
Hailed by the LA Times as “mysteriously smoldering…a name to remember,” mezzo-soprano Augusta Caso is becoming known for her “silken…beguiling mezzo” and “fine subtle acting” (Brooklyn Daily Eagle). Augusta made her debut with the Center for Contemporary Opera as Anaïs Nin in a double-bill of Andriessen’s Anaïs Nin and Odysseus’ Women, directed by Jorinde Keesmaat. The New York Times called her “compelling…Ms. Caso’s acting and her expressive, poignant singing combined for a courageous performance.” Making her European debut in the same role at the Musiekgebouw aant’IJ in Amsterdam, the performance earned her a nomination for the Schaunard award in the Netherlands, the Volkskrant calling it “a star role.”
Using chance, durational, and accumulative operations Bill Mazza's work explores the relationships of people to their environments. At its most practical this manifests as long-term, volunteer engagement with community-based arts organizations that share both presenting voices of traditionally under-represented communities and a commitment to social change, such as Arts for Art (AFA) and the Belladonna* Collaborative. At its least practical it results in visual ephemera and artifacts from collaborative and/or performative events, as with the interdisciplinary, improvisational company Revolution Resurrection R&R.