17 June, 2022Print
Wild Up Pay Tribute To A Vital Queer Composer On Julius Eastman Vol. 2: Joy Boy
Out Today Via New Amsterdam Records, Stream It Here
Sunday, June 19th Wild Up Perform A Special Dawn-To-Dusk Version Of Eastman’s “Buddha” In Los Angeles, More Details Here
Today, Wild Up — the eclectic Los Angeles-based new music collective whose bold programming and site-specific performances have put them in the vanguard of the new music world — release Julius Eastman Vol. 2: Joy Boy, the follow-up to last year’s “monumentally joyous” Julius Eastman Vol. 1: Femenine. Arriving, once more, on New Amsterdam Records,Julius Eastman Vol. 2: Joy Boy is the second entry in Wild Up’s seven-volume anthology celebrating Eastman and features performances of rare compositions including “Joy Boy” and “Buddha.”
NPR Music has praised Joy Boy as “glorious” while the Wall Street Journal says that “in its dramatic variation and reverence, Wild Up’s take on Eastman’s work seems particularly faithful to the versatile and cantankerous spirit of the man.” Listen to Wild Up’s “exhilarating” performance of “Stay On It” here.
Stream Julius Eastman Vol. 2: Joy Boy here.
Julius Eastman was a composer whose musical vision was repeatedly dismissed during its day, but is now being unearthed to critical acclaim. Eastman was young, gay, and Black in a musical world that was primarily old, straight, and white. He swerved through academia, discos, Europe, Carnegie Hall, and the downtown experimental music scene as he built an exhilarating and thoroughly original body of work that was classified as minimalism but challenged the form with distinctive scores and notions of expansiveness. And in 1990, at age 49, Eastman died in Buffalo, New York, less than a decade after the New York City Sheriff’s Department threw most of his scores, belongings, and ephemera into the East Village snow.
“Since we first learned about Julius Eastman in 2010, we’ve had an increasing affinity for the way that he set out to make music,” says Chris Rountree, artistic director for Wild Up. “Eastman’s process and approach feel like an ever-present teacher, embedded in the works. The composer has been an inspiration, larger than life, changing the way we want to work, how we want to make, what we want to make, and what we want it to mean.”
Julius Eastman Vol. 2: Joy Boy delves deep into Eastman’s oeuvre, as Wild Up explores his inimitable compositions and idiosyncratic ways of communicating musical ideas. Eastman’s ideas about notation were notoriously loose and, as such, Wild Up’s performances are informed both by knowledge passed down from Eastman’s colleagues and collaborators as well as an adventurous, constantly seeking spirit. Whether it’s Wild Up guitarist Jiji veering from placid minimalism to metallic drone across two radically different versions of Eastman’s “Touch Him When” or the Wild Up ensemble’s ebulliently discordant performance of “Joy Boy,” there’s a palpable sense of possibility throughout Volume 2.
Says Rountree: “We want listeners to find themselves in these pieces. And in their multiple iterations. We want this work to be quintessentially queer. Every moment full of choice.”
This Sunday on June 19, 2022, Wild Up will be celebrating the release of Julius Eastman Vol. 2: Joy Boy with a special dawn-until-dusk performance of “Buddha,” Eastman’s egg-shaped open-score epic, at 2220 Art & Archives. Full details on that performance here.
Julius Eastman Vol. 2: Joy Boy follows last year’s Julius Eastman Vol. 1: Femenine, a record that was hailed “a masterpiece” (The New York Times), “instantly recognizable” (Vogue), “absorbing” (Pitchfork, in its 8.1 review), and “singularly jubilant” (NPR, who placed Femenine among its top 10 records of 2021, across all genres). Five more volumes are planned, as are numerous live performances of Eastman’s work.
About Wild Up:
Wild Up is a modern music collective—a group of Los Angeles-based musicians committed to creating visceral, thought-provoking happenings. They tell stories and make projects that live somewhere between new music and theater and performance art and pop. The group believes that music is a catalyst for shared experiences, and that the concert venue is a place for challenging, exciting, and igniting the community around us.
Julius Eastman Vol. 2: Joy Boy
Touch Him When (Light)
Touch Him When (Heavy)
Stay On It
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