Red Bull Music Academy knows how to put on a good event, whether it’s their consistently insightful lecture series or their annual month-long New York celebration of all things music. At last year’s RBMA New York, Tri Angle Records’ five year anniversary party and the PC Music Pop Cube especially impressed us, and it’s looking as if this year is going to be special too.
The lineup for the month-long festival has been announced today, and amongst the impressive programming one night especially stands out. On May 6, Dizzee Rascal will perform his seminal debut album Boy In Da Corner in full, which should be a truly incredible night, and a special show for both those who have been following grime since the beginning and new fans of the sound.
See the full calendar and more detailed information about all the shows below, including Metro Boomin, Sonny Digital, and Zaytoven’s roundtable and performance, ANOHNI’s live debut of Hopelessness, and experimental dance music labels NON and N.A.A.F.I. going head to head.
April 29: KIKI – A Film by Sara Jordenö and Twiggy Pucci Garçon (NYC Premiere) with LSS performance and music by Qween Beat @ El Museo del Barrio
Kicking off the Red Bull Music Academy Festival New York 2016, we’re hosting the NYC premiere of KIKI, a cinematic journey into the city’s ballroom subculture known as Kiki. Created and governed by LGBTQ youth of color, the Kiki scene prides itself as a “society within a society,” and provides an activist and creative space for a community dealing with marginalization and discrimination. The award-winning film by Swedish director Sara Jordenö and local Kiki gatekeeper Twiggy Pucci Garçon premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival to much acclaim, and will screen at a special New York event among the very people who are shaping the Kiki scene. The screening will be followed by a “Legends, Statements & Stars” performance, bringing out KIKI’s protagonists for individual dance showcases, and enlisting ballroom DJ extraordinaire MikeQ and collective Qween Beat for musical support.
April 30: Beatmaker Roundtable: Trapped with Metro Boomin, Sonny Digital, Zaytoven @ Red Bull Studios New York
April 30: Trapped: Metro Boomin, Sonny Digital & Zaytoven
Last year we brought together hip hop producers from around the US to tell the stories behind their beats, with hands-on demonstrations of the studio gear they used to make some of their most potent material. This year we’ll do the same – with the focus firmly on hip hop’s biggest hit-making city: Atlanta. ATL favorite sons Metro Boomin, Sonny Digital and Zaytoven will appear at Red Bull Studios New York, ready to reveal the studio secrets behind their defining hits for artists like Future, 2 Chainz, Gucci Mane, and many, many more. Later that night, the event moves on to a different location where the beatmakers take to the decks, airing out some of their most famous productions in the setting in which they’re best appreciated: the club.
May 2: A Conversation with Spike Lee, moderated by Nelson George @ SVA Theatre
Not only is Spike Lee a firm fixture in the movie-making world for now more than 30 years, but he’s also provided some of the most memorable musical moments on film. From the Public Enemy-soundtracked opening credits for Do the Right Thing to coaxing an entire album out of Stevie Wonder for Jungle Fever to “Crooklyn Dodgers,” the career-defining scores of Terence Blanchard, and Questlove’s nod to Mo’ Better Blues in the title of his bestselling book, Lee’s work as a director is inextricably intertwined with music. Most recently, Lee chronicled Michael Jackson’s coronation as king of pop with a documentary titled Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall. The legendary filmmaker will sit down for a lengthy conversation with Nelson George (who previously spoke to D’Angelo during RBMA’s 2014 NYC festival) about how music has inspired him and the part it has played in his films.
May 4: Experiments in Art and Technology Salon @ Red Bull Studios New York
In 1966, a peculiar mixture of artists and engineers descended upon New York’s Lexington Armory for an unprecedented event. Titled 9 Evenings, it was the inspiration for what eventually became E.A.T. (Experiments and Art Technology). Artists like John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg and Deborah Hay presented works created in concert with a host of Bell Labs engineers led by innovative electrical engineer Billy Klüver, the effects of these nights are almost impossible to understate. Nowadays, the convergence of art and technology is a given. This is where it arguably started. In tribute to this pioneering event, Red Bull Music Academy will collaborate with Bell Labs for a private, invite-only event that seeks to capture the spirit of those inspired evenings 50 years ago.
May 6: Dizzee Rascal: Boy In Da Corner Live
With his 2003 debut album Boy In Da Corner, Dizzee Rascal transmitted the raw pulse of UK grime from the London streets to the world. The platinum-selling MC, producer, and Dirtee Stank label boss has moved easily between underground and mainstream ever since, with tracks like “I Luv U” and “Strings Hoe” as relevant today as they were 13 years ago. With grime again exploding up the charts and in the clubs again, we’re bringing Dizzee back to the Big Apple to perform Boy In Da Corner live in its entirety for the first time ever. Times have changed since his 2004 NYC debut at Williamsburg’s Volume, but expect Raskit’s tracks to be as urgent and infectious as ever.
May 7: The Bunker x Dekmantel with Juju & Jordash, Joey Anderson, Palms Trax, Antenes, Clay Wilson, Bryan Kasenic, and Dekmantel Soundsystem, @ Good Room
Amsterdam’s Dekmantel and New York City’s The Bunker are two of modern techno’s most respected institutions, and we’re excited to join them at Brooklyn’s Good Room for a night of dark and driving electronic music. A label, a party and a festival, Dekmantel has quickly emerged as one of Europe’s techno bastions. Their imprint has featured the likes of Joey Anderson, Juju & Jordash and RBMA 2014 alumnus Palms Trax among their ranks, all of whom will perform in the comfy, back-to-basics environs of this Greenpoint club. Support will come from the Dekmantel Sound System and Bunker founder and resident Bryan Kasenic, as well as Bunker affiliates Antenes and Clay Wilson.
May 8: Kamasi Washington, Pharoah Sanders & The Sun Ra Arkestra
Multiple generations of trailblazing jazz artists cross paths as Pharoah Sanders shares a bill with Kamasi Washington and the Sun Ra Arkestra. Pharoah Sanders shaped the sound of spiritual jazz in the mid-1960s. Kamasi Washington propelled his vision of the music forward with his sprawling debut album The Epic in 2015. Sanders himself of course has taken cues from cosmic godfather Sun Ra, who laid the groundwork for spiritual jazz with his Arkestra as early as the 1950s. Following the death of his close collaborator John Coltrane, Sanders’ saxophone travelled to realms previously unexplored. Washington’s expressive style of play, filtered through the lens of a southern Los Angeles adolescence in the wake of Rodney King and G-Funk, updates this formula for the 21st century in masterful fashion.
May 10 & 12: Diamanda Galás @ 258 West 118th Street, Harlem
The volcanic composer, vocalist and activist Diamanda Galás is one of the most uncompromising and influential avant-garde performers of the last thirty years, with an extensive catalog of work that is often oppressive but always thrilling. With a searing voice and background in classical and jazz piano, Galás has continually asserted the connection between her art and activism, tackling subjects like torture, genocide and AIDS in philosophically thoughtful and musically incendiary ways. Galás has previously collaborated with musicians varying from free jazz saxophonist John Zorn and Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones to influential composer Iannis Xenakis and industrial musician FM Einheit, in addition to numerous others, and her vocal technique and performance has been cited as an inspiration by performers such as PJ Harvey and Anohni. Over the past few years, Galás has been working extensively in Europe, in particular on the theatrical performance “Das Fieberspital (The Fever Hospital)” — based on the writings of Georg Heym, Gottfried Benn and herself — at the Grotowski Institute in Wroclaw, Poland. This May, Galás returns to a New York City stage to perform new music in an appropriately dazzling setting – St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Harlem.
May 12–15: Mark Pritchard x Jonathan Zawada: The Album Under The Sun @ Red Bull Studios New York
Mark Pritchard has seen electronic music from all sides. Over the course of a dozen monikers and near-innumerable collaborations, he’s made everything from ambient to techno, jungle, footwork and grime, tying it all together with a fathoms-deep knowledge of music technology, theory and history. On May 13th, Warp will release Under the Sun, Pritchard’s latest solo album and an especially personal project: it finds Pritchard, now based in Australia, burrowing into the emotional space of his birthplace in England’s Southwest. We’re bringing the album to life with an immersive audiovisual installation, featuring exclusive music from Pritchard and visuals by the acclaimed artist Jonathan Zawada, whose otherworldly landscape images grace the packaging of Under the Sun.
May 13: Freestyle!!! with Jellybean Benitez, Louie Vega, and very special guests
Birthed in the Bronx in the mid-’80s, freestyle music went on to dominate radio airwaves, roller rinks, and nightclubs in NYC, Miami, Chicago, and Los Angeles with its irresistible combo of romantic lyrics over laser-sharp synths and 808 beats. We’ve enlisted two of the eras top DJs—Jellybean Benitez of The Funhouse and Louie Vega of The Devil’s Nest—to help us curate this massive freestyle celebration, featuring special live performances and other dancefloor surprises. Teased bangs & Z Cavariccis recommended.
May 14: Brooklyn Flea Record Fair @ Smorgasburg
Red Bull Music Academy Festival New York returns for the fourth time to the Williamsburg waterfront for an afternoon at the Brooklyn Flea. This vast and varied record fair will once again feature more than 50 independent record labels, high quality eats from the folks at Smorgasburg, and music provided by DJs we’ve enlisted especially for the occasion.
May 14: Technopolis with Galcher Lustwerk, Anthony Naples, DUST, Aurora Halal, Ital, Via App, Umfang, Volvox, Max McFerren, Bookworms
Manhattan may have dominated the golden era of New York clubbing, but the city’s best parties have been happening in Brooklyn for some time now. Guiding those dancefloors is an innovative crop of young producers, many of them taking inspiration from the raw, machine-driven sounds of the ’80s and ’90s and infusing them with a modern DIY spirit. In celebration of their efforts, we’re bringing together many of the scene’s key players for a sweaty, late-night party in a massive, multi-room Brooklyn warehouse. Silky, soul-inflected house grooves will come courtesy of Anthony Naples and White Material affiliate Galcher Lustwerk, while techno aficionados Volvox and Umfang, both representing upstart collective Discwoman, can be counted upon to take the proceedings further down the rabbit hole. Max McFerren’s love of dreamy textures should provide quite the contrast to the serrated blasts of experimental techno offered up by hardware adventurers Bookworms, DUST and Via App, as well as sets from scene stalwarts Aurora Halal and Ital.
May 16: Glenn Branca’s Symphonies @ Masonic Hall NYC
Pioneering guitarist and No Wave icon Glenn Branca is sure to shake the foundations of Manhattan’s Masonic Hall in this performance of his 8th and 10th Symphonies (The Mysteries) and his 12th Symphony (Total Sexus), featuring an all-star cast of contributing guitarists. Branca’s work has utilized counterpoint, dissonance, abrasion and sheer volume to fantastic effect, influencing Sonic Youth, Swans, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and many more along the way. From his time in No Wave band Theoretical Girls through to seminal solo LPs like Lesson No. 1, and The Ascension, Branca has been a continuous trailblazer structurally and technically, writing 100-guitar symphonies and inventing his own Harmonics guitar. His music is a reflection of New York City: unpredictable and inspiring in equal measure, a mass of conflict and disparate strands of creativity uniting in a cohesive, utterly imposing whole.
May 18 & 19: RBMA & Park Avenue Armory Present ANOHNI: HOPELESSNESS @ Park Avenue Armory
Red Bull Music Academy and Park Avenue Armory are proud to present the world premiere of Anohni’s live show for her new album Hopelessness on two consecutive evenings in New York. Featuring original films, and a band that includes Oneohtrix Point Never, the celebrated singer, composer and visual artist will bring her politically charged masterpiece to audiences in an environment unlike any other. With her haunting work in Antony and the Johnsons and her flooring contributions to the Hercules & Love Affair project, Anohni has established herself as one of the most fragile and fiercest vocalists around. Expect to see another breathtaking chapter to her story take shape for the first time ever on May 18th and 19th at Park Avenue Armory, as part of the Red Bull Music Academy Festival New York and the Armory’s Spring-Fall 2016 programmatic offerings. 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; Pershing Square Capital Management, LP; and Bloomberg Philanthropies are the Armory’s 2016 Season Sponsors.
May 20: RBMA & New Museum Present NON: Legacy Systems with Chino Amobi, Nkisi, Angel-Ho @ New Museum
May 20: Inter-Zone: NON vs N.A.A.F.I with N.A.A.F.I, Elysia Crampton, Rabit, Gaika, Scraaatch
Following their revolutionary NON vs. N.A.A.F.I mixtape, Red Bull Music Academy teams up with the pair of genre-defying global labels for a night of radical statements in sound. The event kicks off with a joint presentation by RBMA and the New Museum, where NON representatives Chino Amobi (Virginia, USA), Nkisi (London, UK) and Angel-Ho (Cape Town, South Africa) come together for the first time ever in a special collaborative performance that folds the music of the African diaspora and next-level club beats into a fractured and hyperreal future vision. The afterparty will see NON joined by representatives from Mexico City’s groundbreaking party and label N.A.A.F.I (“No Ambition and Fuck-all Interest”). The crew will challenge the dancefloor with the latest missives from the Latin-American underground, alongside Tri Angle’s Texas-born experimental grime visionary Rabit, Bolivian-American sonic collage artist Elysia Crampton, London art rap wizard Gaika, and Philly duo Scraaatch.
May 21: Eddie Palmieri’s Harlem River Drive Revisited
Released in 1971, Harlem River Drive saw Eddie Palmieri marrying Latin, soul, funk and jazz with socially conscious tales of the inner city. Red Bull Music Academy is proud to provide a platform for the return of the celebrated musician and activist’s Harlem River Drive project in 2016. Few musicians are as politically aware as Palmieri. Even fewer put those feelings to tape at precisely the moment that the nation needed to hear these messages the most. Following on from recording sessions earlier this year, Palmieri and his band will perform a free outdoor concert at a yet-to-be-disclosed location. In an era marked by a feeling of social unrest and economic distress, this 45th anniversary of Harlem River Drive will serve to remind of Palmieri’s enormous influence, then and now.
May 22: Last Night A DJ Saved My Soul with Floorplan, DJ Pierre, Ann Nesby of Sounds of Blackness, Joubert Singers, Terrence Parker, Kenny Bobien, Slow To Speak, Budgie and more @ 257 Washington Ave., Brooklyn
Inspired by the RBMA Daily article of the same name, Last Night A DJ Saved My Soul brings together artists saving souls on and off the dancefloor through a unique synthesis of transcendent music and transportive messages. We explore the deep connection between house music and gospel with legendary group Joubert Singers, whose “Stand On the Word” became a Paradise Garage classic, and New Jersey’s own “King of Gospel House” Kenny Bobien. They are joined by Detroit pioneers Terrence Parker and Robert Hood (aka Floorplan), himself a minister, as well as DJ Pierre of acid house pioneers Phuture, who will be collaborating live for the first time ever with Ann Nesby, lead singer of Sounds of Blackness. Rounding out the lineup are Ann Nesby, lead singer of Sounds of Blackness, as well as Budgie and Slow To Speak’s Paul Nickerson, who have both emphasized the continued emotional impact of disco, house and gospel throughout their respective DJ careers.