Fans of avant-garde, experimental, and outsider music are in luck this weekend, as New Music Detroit presents three days of the most forward-thinking sounds from artists all across the contemporary music spectrum. This weekend marks the tenth edition of Strange Beautiful Music, a marathon celebration of cutting-edge works from several genres.
According to Ian Ding, a founding member and co-director of New Music Detroit, the longevity of the festival can be attributed to the city’s adventurous tastes and open-minded listening habits: “Detroit is one of the top cities for live music and overall musicianship. And so with the audiences having big, receptive ears, we figured there would be a ton of people who had all these Reich albums on their shelves but maybe didn’t get a chance to see Drumming live. We felt there was a ready audience here, and thankfully we were right.”
Headliners for 2017 include a live set by the Detroit-based DJ Rebecca Goldberg, Vicky Chow presented by Yamaha, and a performance of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians by New Music Detroit. The ensemble will also appear throughout the festival with works by David Lang, Annie Gosfield, Pauline Oliveros, and more.
Also headlining this year are legendary noise act Wolf Eyes, whose performance promises to hold many surprises. “We’re not doing a written piece. We have some parameters from Nate [Young], some very simple compositional step-off tools,” explains Josh Olson, one of the band’s two longest-standing members. “It’s more of a folk music improvisational thing, but it’s not made up from scratch. There’s some ingredients, but we have no idea what kind of pie is gonna come out of the oven.”
That spirit of discovery extends to the event itself. Each day comes with a change of venues, reflecting the ever-wider array of spaces in the city that are amenable to experimental sounds. Things kicks off at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, September 22 at Trinosophes with a set by the Khemia Ensemble. On Saturday, the fest moves over to the DSO Cube and features such audience favorites as Clem Fortuna and Latitude 49. The music comes to a close at MOCAD on Sunday, September 24, with the SBM debut of Saajtak.
General admission tickets (both single-day and for the weekend) as well as VIP Experience passes are available and can be purchased here. For more information, including the full lineup and schedule, visit the official Facebook event page.