First Release Julius Eastman Vol. 1: Femenine Out June 18 On New Amsterdam, Listen To A Movement HERE
On June 18, 2021, Los Angeles-based musical collective Wild Up will release the premiere studio recording of Julius Eastman’s “Femenine.” Arriving on New Amsterdam Records, Julius Eastman Vol. 1: Femenine is the opening entry in Wild Up’s multi-volume anthology celebrating Eastman, the late composer whose amalgamated musical vision was repeatedly dismissed during its day, but is now being unearthed to critical acclaim.
Today, April 7, 2021, you can listen to an excerpt from “Femenine” HERE
Championed by The New York Times for their “boisterously theatrical sensibility,” Wild Up slowly comes alive inside this recording of “Femenine,” the epitome of Eastman’s longform “organic music”—where phrases live inside of phrases, multiple layers ebbing and flowing with the passage of time. Within “Femenine,” Eastman, whose music The New Yorker hailed as “brazen and brilliant,” evolves material based on a two-note, 13-beat “prime” melody—a cosmic clamoring of bells. Simultaneously static and active, “Femenine” lulls listeners into musical reverie.
Eastman was young, gay, and Black at a time when it was even more difficult to be young, gay, and Black. He swerved through academia, discos, Europe, Carnegie Hall, and the downtown experimental music scene. 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. In Wild Up’s unique 70-minute interpretation of Eastman’s open score, the ensemble is challenged to work in dialogue with the composer’s own creative impulses; in doing so, the band channels his individualistic spirit, augmenting “Femenine” with strategically placed solos—individual cantor-like proclamations. The recorded performance reflects a blend of strict adherence to Eastman’s specific instructions with an embrace of individual and collective decision-making, a continuous three-way conversation between Eastman, the individual members of Wild Up, and the group as a whole.
This album represents a departure for New Amsterdam Records, which until this point has exclusively released new music by active, living composers. Eastman is a special case, a composer whose music shines like a retroactive beacon to today’s musical creators. Any term used to characterize today’s musical landscape—”genre fluid” or the like—was anticipated by Eastman decades before; yet he was punished for being ahead of his time, both in the treatment of his music and, tragically, his person. Eastman’s music flowed freely from—and through—his myriad influences, and was terribly served by the musical infrastructure of his day. (At the time of his death, it took some eight months for a newspaper—any newspaper—to run his obituary). It makes sense, then, for “Femenine” to arrive on New Amsterdam Records—a sort of loving backwards embrace of a musical forefather to 21st century composers.
Eastman sometimes gifted copies of his musical scores. Now, over three decades since his death, his work is being regifted by those whose lives he touched. For Wild Up, to play Eastman’s music is to feel they are in, of, and visiting his world at the same time. Though the band worked with scrupulous care to realize this project, part of the joy of performing it is accepting that Julius Eastman's precise intentions for this elusive score will always remain something of a mystery—just a little out of reach. Still, in the frenzied ecstasy of performing his work, Wild Up feels a little more alive, a little more connected, a little more free, and by embarking on this anthology, they endeavor to carry this freedom forward.
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. Earlier this year, Wild Up produced its second annual Darkness Sounding festival, a series of musical happenings set against the darkest days of the year. Spanning a month, with over thirty distinct performances around Los Angeles (and virtually from beyond), the New York Times calledDarkness Sounding “sincere, outdoorsy [and] trippy.”
Julius Eastman Vol. 1: Femenine
Create New Pattern
Hold And Return
Be Thou My Vision / Mao Melodies
Pianist Will Interrupt Must Return
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