To say that Red Bull Music Festival New York is one of the most adventurous and left-field branded events in music is not an opinion; it’s a fact. Over the past five years the wide-ranging event has premiered performances from Solange (at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum), Giorgio Moroder, Anohni and FKA Twigs and conversations with D’Angelo, Brian Eno, Erykah Badu, George Clinton and A$AP Rocky, among many other performances and happenings that are adventurous even for the most left-leaning music fans.
The festival’s legacy of innovative programming returns for a sixth year this May with special performances from musical adventurers Fever Ray (a.k.a. Karin Dreyer, formerly of The Knife), Oneohtrix, John Maus and Tristan Perich and lectures or conversations with Harry Belafonte, Robyn, among many other events.
A full listing appears below, but highlights include the world premiere of Oneohtrix Point Never’s “Myriad,” an immersive multi-level performance built specifically for the cavernous Park Avenue Armory; composer and sound artist Tristan Perich’s premiere of “Drift Multiply,” a piece for 50 violins and 50 self-built speakers taking place at the majestic Cathedral of Saint John the Divine; and avant musician serpentwithfeet “elaborating on his delicate vision in a unique performance space with both moons,” whatever that means.
In the conversations, legendary 91-year-old singer/actor Harry Belafonte will reflect on his life and career “through the lens of the city he has long called home, New York, and sophisti-pop pioneer Robyn will sit down for a chat with her friend and fellow musician Kindness.
Tickets for Red Bull Music Festival New York go on sale Thursday, March 22 at 10am ET. See more details on the individual events, sign up for the festival newsletter and purchase tickets at nyc.redbullmusicfestival.com.
Additional programming will also appear on RedBullMusic.com and Red Bull Radio (www.redbullradio.com).
RED BULL MUSIC FESTIVAL NEW YORK 2018
May 03: If This Knowledge Scares You, The Equation Is Working with Wiki, Show Me The Body, Standing on the Corner, MIKE, Sporting Life, Onyx Collective, Tony Seltzer, 700 Bliss (Moor Mother + DJ Haram)
RAMMΣLLZΣΣ inhabited a world of his own creation. The enigmatic graffiti-writer, artist and MC was a fixture of New York’s dynamic downtown scene in the late ’70s and ’80s. In tandem with the opening of a Red Bull Arts New York retrospective, If This Knowledge Scares You, The Equation Is Working is a showcase of young NYC musicians directly or spiritually influenced by the late, great RAMMΣLLZΣΣ. These include young New Yorkers Wiki and Sporting Life; and beat maker and producer Tony Seltzer. Also performing will be Philly noise duo 700 Bliss (Moor Mother and DJ Haram); rising talent MIKE; jazz ensemble Onyx Collective; and the eclectic Standing On The Corner.
May 04: John Maus
Over the course of four albums, musician, singer and producer John Maus has put forth his own distinctive musical vision. Known for a visceral and haunting take on synth-pop, his recent album Screen Memories featured the immersive sounds of self-built modular synths and was written with both classical and computer-based compositional techniques. A longtime friend and collaborator of Ariel Pink and an academic with a PhD in political philosophy, Maus will come to Coney Island and present his music in a way that you’ve never heard it before.
May 04: RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder @ Red Bull Arts New York
The cultural impact of the equation known as The RAMMΣLLZΣΣ (1960-2010) – legendary artist, graff writer, hip-hop pioneer, Gothic Futurist theoretician, and New York cult icon – laid the groundwork for today’s interdisciplinary creative hyphenates. Taking over the entirety of Red Bull Arts New York, RAMMΣLLZΣΣ’s largest survey to date examines the evolution of the artist’s diverse body of work. From seminal post-graffiti works to his rare but robust formal output throughout the 1980s, and important artworks and sculptures created over the last 20 years of his life. The exhibition gathers archival materials and artworks from RAMMΣLLZΣΣ’s estate, collections around the world, and oral histories recently commissioned by Red Bull Arts New York. This historic survey aims to introduce a new generation to the artist-prophet from the edge who found himself, again and again, in the center of everything.
RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder is on view from May 4 – August 26. The exhibition is organized by Red Bull Arts New York Chief Curator Max Wolf and cultural critic Carlo McCormick, with Associate Curators Christian Omodeo, Jeff Mao, and Candice Strongwater.
May 05: A Conversation with Harry Belafonte
Three-time Grammy Award-winning musician, actor and activist Harry Belafonte is one of the most successful Jamaican-American artists of all time, renowned for bringing the Caribbean sound to the international mainstream. Just as he is seen as an advocate of world music, Belafonte is acclaimed for his lifelong commitment to political and humanitarian activism. A close friend and adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Belafonte was at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement and continued to campaign for racial equality and global peace long after Dr. King’s death. As part of Red Bull Music Festival New York, the Kennedy Center Honoree and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador will join us for a conversation reflecting on his career through the lens of the city he has long called home, New York.
This event is co-presented with Jill Newman Productions. At the artist’s request, all revenue from ticket sales will be donated to Sankofa, Harry Belafonte’s social justice organization.
May 08: Red Bull Radio Live: The Federation Sound with Max Glazer
Join us as Federation Sound’s Max Glazer brings his Red Bull Radio show live to the Red Bull Music Festival New York. Founded in 1999 by Max Glazer, Kenny Meez, and Cipha Sounds, Federation Sound have been sharing their musical expertise on Red Bull Radio since 2016. A dancehall and reggae aficionado, Glazer has been instrumental in creating a platform for soundsystem culture since his early days as a DJ and hip-hop journalist. He has since worked with some of the biggest names in reggae and dancehall and through his weekly show on Red Bull Radio, including the likes of Kranium, Jesse Royal, Chronixx and Konshens. Armed with the hottest dubplates, remixes, and exclusive premieres, join us as Max takes us to Kingston, the diaspora and back.
May 09: Tristan Perich: Drift Multiply with Lesley Flanigan @ Cathedral of Saint John the Divine
As part of Red Bull Music Festival New York, renowned modern classical composer and sound artist Tristan Perich will premiere his most ambitious project yet: A piece for 50 violins and 50 self-built 1-bit speakers. Perich investigates the spaces where the physical world meets the abstract world of computational electronics, writing intricate arrangements that blend lo-fi 1-bit sound – the lowest possible digital representation of audio – with cascading melodies performed by classically trained musicians. The piece will be brought to life with music director Doug Perkins, an acclaimed percussion soloist, chamber musician, event producer and composer, and a member of the percussion faculty at the Boston Conservatory. Also performing will be Lesley Flanigan, the experimental electronic musician and instrument designer. Flanigan takes a sculptural approach to sound design, layering the sounds of her self-built devices with traditional instrumentation, including her voice. This event is co-presented with The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine.
May 11: Dream Machine with The Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bashir Attar (Morocco), Oliver Coates (UK), Zeena Parkins, Dave Harrington Group, Sophia Brous & Special Guests @ Pioneer Works
A dazzling combination of mesmeric light, color and sound, Red Bull Music Festival New York presents the historic live reimagining of Bryon Gysin and William Burroughs’ seminal experiential invention, the dream machine. Described by Gysin as “the world’s first work of art designed to be viewed with eyes closed,” the invention brought about vivid hallucinations of brilliant color through the repeat exposure of high-intensity flicker light. In this immersive concert installation, multi-instrumentalist/composer Dave Harrington (Darkside), director-musician Sophia Brous and designers Wild Dogs come together to create an extended live meditation on the landmark invention, combining high-intensity strobe, immersive lighting and ceiling projection and a live dream soundtrack performed by a once-in-a-lifetime ensemble of music luminaries, including legendary Moroccan Sufi trance ensemble The Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bashir Attar, British cellist Oliver Coates, harpist Zeena Parkins, Dave Harrington, Sophia Brous and more special guests to be announced. An unrepeatable event best experienced lying down and eyes closed.
Created by Sophia Brous, Dave Harrington and Wild Dogs International
Musical Directors: Dave Harrington and Sophia Brous
Set and lighting design: Wild Dogs International
Produced by SODA X Wild Dogs
Originally created for Supersense: Festival of the Ecstatic at the Arts Centre Melbourne.
May 12 & 13: Fever Ray with Nidia @ Brooklyn Hangar
One half of electronic duo The Knife, Swedish experimental electronic music artist Karin Dreijer made a solo debut as Fever Ray in 2009 with a hauntingly spectacular self-titled album. The record received international acclaim with its eerie, stripped-down vocals and piercing beats and melodies. While The Knife continued to release music, the future of the Fever Ray project remained uncertain to listeners until, without any prior announcement, Dreijer released their second album, Plunge, in October of last year. The album is distinctly more energetic and dynamic than its predecessor, both in its eclectic beats and lively melodies but also in its themes of sexual politics, feminism and sexuality. Celebrating the album’s release, Fever Ray brings a six woman strong live band to play their first US show in eight years. Expect a love bursting, joyful and explosive performance at this immersive event.
May 16: Red Bull Radio Live: Bien Buena with Riobamba and Uproot Andy
Join us live as Uproot Andy and Riobamba explore the diverse music that connects New York City to Latin America and the Caribbean at the Red Bull Music Festival New York. Highlighting the interconnectivity of genres like reggaetón, dembow, Latin trap, cumbia, baile funk, plena, champeta and many more, our hosts dive into the localized communities driving forward Latinx music culture. In this special show in front of a live audience, they’ll not only bring big tunes from the newest underground movements, Uproot Andy and Riobamba will trace the roots that form the foundation of these sounds, following the culture with a critical perspective toward history and context. Prendelo pero aprendelo.
May 17: serpentwithfeet: both moons
With his 2016 EP blisters and a recent duet with Björk on a remix of her track “Blissing Me,” Brooklyn-based artist serpentwithfeet has established himself as one of the most exciting new voices in music. Born and raised in Baltimore, his training in jazz, opera and choral singing is evident in his work, which is both sensual and spiritual in its intensity, interwoven with sparse and dramatic productions, and punctuated by classical instrumentation. As part of Red Bull Music Festival New York, serpentwithfeet will elaborate on his delicate vision in a unique Chelsea performance space.
May 18: Teeth & Nails with Bali Baby, Asian Doll, Rico Nasty, Lil Wop, Chicken, HANZ, DJ Kenn
A group of young and ruthless rappers inspired by horror flicks is disrupting hip-hop. Their digital DIY output–filled with menacing chopped and screwed sounds–draws you in like a slasher film, keeping you on the edge of your proverbial seat and sending chills down your spine. Part of the YouTube generation, each of these artists has quickly developed a cult-like following. Kill the suspense: Join us for a party with special performances and the most mayhem that hip-hop has to offer.
May 19: Reggaeton: Hasta Abajo with The Noise (live), DJ Lobo, Rosa Pistola, Riobamba
Born out of the confluence of dancehall, hip-hop, and reggae en español, Reggaeton has evolved enormously from the mixtapes recorded in San Juan’s marquesinas to produce some of the world’s biggest stars. In celebration of the genre, Red Bull Music Festival New York will be reuniting early pioneers of the sound, The Noise. Founded in San Juan in the early 1990’s, the iconic collective of DJ’s, rappers and producers gave an early platform to current legends of Reggaeton. On support will be game-changers in the genre such as DJ Lobo, Rosa Pistola, and Riobamba.
May 20: Red Bull Radio Live: Peak Time with Vivian Host
Red Bull Radio’s Peak Time is your daily guide to everything fresh in music, from the best new tracks to breaking news, in-depth artist interviews to cultural commentary, event coverage and so much more. Each day, music journalist and DJ Vivian Host curates the world’s most interesting artists and sounds into two lively hours of radio that keep you up to date on what’s happening in music now. Normally taped live at Red Bull Radio’s Manhattan studios, Peak Time takes the stage in front of a live audience during the Red Bull Music Festival New York; expect an array of special guests and surprises.
May 21: A Conversation with Robyn, moderated by Kindness
Robyn’s career reads a bit like a film script: Swedish star hits the top of the charts, sidesteps the pop game for a more personal sound, and ends up self-sufficient and even bigger than before. This second chapter has included five Grammy nominations, appearances on Saturday Night Live and other television shows across the globe, iconic videos with millions of views, and a festival aimed at encouraging young women interested in programming, robotics, 3D printing, game development, electronic music, and more. In short, it’s been an incredible ride for this inspiring role model for artists everywhere. In this conversation moderated by artist and friend Kindness, Robyn will talk about how she got to this point – and what’s coming next.
May 22 + 24: Oneohtrix Point Never: MYRIAD @ Park Avenue Armory
Oneohtrix Point Never will premiere MYRIAD, a concert featuring his first full live touring ensemble together with special guests and visual collaborators, as part of Red Bull Music Festival New York. Using the scale of the Park Avenue Armory’s Wade Thompson Drill Hall to explore disorienting forms at the intersection of theater, installation art, and music performance, the world premiere of MYRIAD will be presented as a four-part epochal song cycle.
(Note: This event is co-presented with the Park Avenue Armory, as part of their 2018 season. Part American palace, part industrial shed, Park Avenue Armory is dedicated to commissioning, producing, and supporting unconventional works in the visual and performing arts that need non-traditional spaces for their full realization. Citi and Bloomberg Philanthropies are the Armory’s 2018 Season Sponsors.)
May 23: ‘Betty Davis: They Say I’m Different’ NYC Film Premiere
One of the most important and influential voices of the funk era, Betty Davis is a pioneer who, through her genre-bending music, shattered the limits of R&B, funk and feminism. A woman ahead of her time, she has been a major influence on the generations of musicians who came up after her, not to mention the impact she had on her contemporaries including former husband Miles Davis. In the late 2000’s the rediscovery of her records reignited the flame that Davis so bravely set off over 40 years ago with her self-titled debut album. Nevertheless, it took five more years to bring her story to the screen. Since 2013, documentarian Phil Cox and his team have been working with Davis on a documentary about her life entitled They Say I’m Different, and will present the New York premiere at Red Bull Music Festival New York.
May 25: Brujas x Performance Space New York: Anti-Prom @ Performance Space New York
Founded in 2014, Brujas is a collective of radical gender self determined activists and skaters. What began as a group of friends pushing back against white and male-dominated skate culture has turned into an active movement against spaces steeped in traditions of bias and oppression. With forays into events and streetwear, the latter of which has been celebrated by major institutions and designers alike, Brujas’s core remains political and grassroots. Through a pilot streetwear project titled 1971 they raised awareness during a nationally coordinated prison strike and created a legal fund for for community members affected by the orisin system – and one of their many events, Anti-Prom, created a safe space for non-binary gender expresssion through fashion and dance. As part of Red Bull Music Festival New York, we’re proud to partner with Brujas to host their third annual Anti-Prom in conjunction with Performance Space New York.