On-Demand Audio: Ostinato-Based Works by Norman, Scelsi, Shaw and Bach

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On July 7 at 7:30 pm, Q2 Music presented a live audio webcast of electroacoustic ambient duo A Winged Victory for the Sullen from (Le) Poisson Rouge. New York new-music mainstays American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) performed an opening set of music based on ostinatos before joining the duo for hypnotic orchestrations that straddled the worlds of the organic and the synthetic.

A Winged Victory for the Sullen is the collaborative project of Los Angeles-based composer Dustin O'Halloran and Adam Wiltzie, founder of the Austin, Texas ambient-drone group Stars of the Lid. Their highly-acclaimed self-titled debut, released in 2011, was lauded by high profile music publications including Pitchfork, The Guardian and MOJO, among others. Recorded at Berlin's Grunewald Church and in a number of old German radio studios, the music incorporates string quartet, French horn and bassoon into processed fields of guitar distortion, making for a sound that bridges the sounds of orchestral and ambient music.

American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) is known for its cross-genre collaborations with artists as disparate as indie rockers Grizzly Bear, composers Ingram Marshall and Jóhann Jóhannsson, and electronic performer Matmos, among others. Loving the Chambered Nautilus, ACME's collaboration with composer William Brittelle, was released last month on New Amsterdam Records. This show features Clarice Jensen, cello; Michi Wianko, violin; and Caroline Shaw, viola.

ACME opened the evening with a set fittingly constructed around the concept of the "drone." Their performance included string trio orchestrations of selections from J.S. Bach's Art of the Fugue (which utilize pedal points), as well as works by Italian microtonal composer Giacinto Scelsi, ACME violist Caroline Shaw and New York-based composer Andrew Norman. The trio then joined A Winged Victory for the Sullen for, as Adam Wiltzie put it, eight songs "mostly about dead people and broken hearts."

Excerpts of the performance are available below: