Red Bull Music Academy Festival New York Announces 2014 Lineup
File Red Bull under the short list of corporations who do synergy properly. Of course, they have tons of sponsorship dollars invested in the sports world, from mainstream sports like soccer and auto racing to extreme sports and off-kilter events like Flugtag. Athletes have long turned to the caffeinated beverage for a boost of energy in their grueling regimens. But another group has embraced the “wings” the drink purports to provide – dance music enthusiasts.
To court that late night demographic, the company created Red Bull Music Academy in 1998. RBMA is dedicated first and foremost to incubating burgeoning talent through workshops and lectures, as well as offering participants access to cutting edge production technology and advice. High profile former participants include Flying Lotus and Nina Kraviz. But the Academy also offers public events, which run the gamut from electronic to jazz, with a firm focus on boundary pushers and experimentalists. The festival has taken place all over the globe, and will return to New York for a second consecutive year this May, after a successful 2013 edition that brought electronic music luminaries like Brian Eno and Giorgio Moroder among others. This year’s initial lineup just dropped and it offers something for everyone, with a keen focus on influential artists of the past and contemporary acts pressing towards the future.
May 1 – Bounce Ballroom
This event, in the spacious confines of Brooklyn Night Bazaar, features DJs and dance crews united to shine a light on some localized sounds and body vibrations you have probably never heard of – Bruk Up, Voguing, Housing and Jersey Club. Expect a history lesson in the low end.
May 2 & 3 – Atomic Bomb! The Music of William Onyeabor
Last year, David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label dropped a compilation of William Onyeabor’s music. The Nigerian synth funk ingenue created some infectious Afrobeat dance tunes a few decades ago, and then dropped off the face of the planet, but his tunes have slowly found their way back into the spotlight where they belong. The ex-Talking Head himself will be in the house at these tribute shows, along with dance indie stars from LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip.
May 9 – Four Corners of the Clash
This party squeezes some of New York’s best dance party collectives – Trouble & Bass, Que Baj0, Max Glezer & Federation Sound – into new hipster haunt Baby’s All Right to let them fight it out in a sound clash throwback to the days of competing systems in the Bronx and Kingston.
May 10 – Brooklyn Flea Record Fair
Crate diggers unite as record dealers from all over converge at legendary foodie haven Smorgasburg for a day of flipping through vinyl while enjoying the best of New York’s artisanal food vendors. If that’s not enough, Optimo, Autre Ne Veut and others will be spinning choice tunes all day long.
May 10 – Robert Henke’s Lumière and The Haxan Cloak
Robert Henke’s resume is impeccable. He played an integral role in developing ubiquitous electronic production and performance software Ableton, and he has released some of the genre’s most complex music as Monolake. At Brooklyn Masonic Temple, he will present his futuristic audio visual show for the first time in the United States. Joining Henke will be the eerie experimental noise of The Haxan Cloak, also making its U.S. debut.
May 11 – Larry Levan Street Party
Larry Levan is an NYC club legend. The fertile dance music era of the 1980s was soundtracked in no small part by Levan’s residency at Paradise Garage. This block party will support efforts to have a street named for one of the cit’s many dance music icons.
May 14 – A Night of Improvised Round Robin Duets
Presented in conjunction with Undead Music Festival, the round robin is designed to produce a continuous flow of amorphous music. One musician starts a solo, another joins in and then the first cedes the stage to another in an ongoing rotation throughout the evening. The format yields unexpected and often delightful results.
May 16 – Hardcore Activity In Progress
This evening presents an extensive selection of decidedly experimental music from a range of genres, including but not limited to noise, classical, techno and hip hop. Come for a primer in all music that refuses to color inside the lines. Last year’s Activity In Progress event was a highlight for many, and this year should be no different.
May 17 – Running Back: Gerd Janson All Night Long
German house DJ extraordinaire will be taking to the decks at TBA Brooklyn for a marathon session that is sure to double as a house history lesson from the Running Back label head.
May 18 – Panda Bear
The solo work of the Animal Collective member veers closer to the dreamy harmonies of the Beach Boys than the quixotic clutter of his main group, while still retaining a distinct sense of the unknown. Catch him in the intimate confines of the Warsaw, joined by funk revivalist and Snoop Dogg collaborator Dam-Funk.
May 21 – A Conversation With D’Angelo
D’Angelo dropped one of the greatest neo soul records of all time and then largely disappeared from public view for the better part of a decade. He reemerged recently to join collaborator Questlove for a select few performances, but remains one of pop music’s most quixotic figures. Come see what he has to say about his R&B journey so far.
May 24 – Mister Saturday Night’s House Party
Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin have been bringing top notch electronic music talent to lofts and groves across New York City for many years now. This night, the duo and their label mates will take that intimate vibe to a house party at a TBD location in Manhattan.
May 28 – Hudson Mohawke and Friends (Live)
RBMA graduate HudMo is best known as half of the bass heavy instrumental hip hop duo TNGHT with Lunice. Here he performs solo with a cavalcade of friends that will no doubt test the limits of the lower end of the sound system at Webster Hall.
May 30 – Lit City Trax
The dance music collective will bring their dirty mix of grime, future bass and footwork to the appropriate confines of a decommissioned strip club for a night of gritty booty shaking.
May 31 – A Class of Its Own: RBMA Closing Night
The festival closes with a focus on artists incubated in the Academy segment of the event, appropriately bringing the educational and entertainment sectors of the Academy together to bring it on home with an eye on the future of music.
Click HERE for tickets and additional information and stay tuned to Sensible Reason for continuing RBMA coverage.