NOTE: The physical CD is absolutely beautiful and is a work of art and design unto itself.
The underground sound: Sxip Shirey captures sonic heartache with his love letter to NYC
“Sxip Shirey inventively captures the collision of sounds and influences that spill out of every corner of the city and swirls them together to create new and beautifully strange harmonies, filled with the subtle poetry of everyday joys. A gorgeous album, filled with aural invention and even more importantly, heart.”–Public Programming Director Bill Bragin (Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts)
NEW YORK, NY–New York City’s experimental edges have not been entirely eroded by the tides of hipster manques and Mayor Bloomberg. On Sat. July 24, avant-garde composer Sxip Shirey will perform cuts from his latest release ‘Sonic New York’ at The City Winery (155 Varick St.) with the Carolina Chocolate Drops' Rhiannon Giddens and special downtown guests. Doors will open at 9 p.m.
Concept albums on New York City tend to romanticize the city's cosmopolitan wonder. But for Sxip Shirey, the perfect aural impetus lies in the controlled chaos and beautiful dysfunction.
“It’s either a love letter or a ‘Dear John’ letter to New York City,” Shirey says of the album. “The listener will ultimately decide,” he adds.
On the album standout single, “Dreamland,” Project Jenny, Project Jan tech geek and engineer Sammy Rubin layers Rhiannon Giddens' reedy, soulful vocals over a disco-style beat. Shirey’s version of “Sonic New York” features contributions from human-beatboxer-cum-sound-alchemist Adam Matta, frequent Jack White collaborator and accordionist-clavioliaist Rachelle Garniez, haunting Virginian balladeer Aimee Curl and, on a few tracks, a mutant harmonica.
The album release party follows Mr. Shirey’s whirlwind summer tour with Evelyn Evelyn co-creators Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley. After a brief volcano-related postponement, the first leg of the Evelyn Evelyn tour kicked off in late-April with a stop in Amsterdam. The American leg, featuring a weeklong layover at Greenwich Village’s Lucille Lortel Theatre, covers the coasts and parts of the Midwest and Canada (begins May 17 in Vancouver).
As for “Sonic New York,” Shirey kept his affection for the city intact, but stayed close to his Bed-Stuy neighborhood's gritty street soundscape. The Wiyos’ Joe “Bass” DeJarnette, engineered most of “Sonic New York,” and the album boasts dense textures and intricate interplay.