Summers of Rock
Paul Schmelzer & Emily Sortor
Launched in 1998, Rock the Garden has gone through plenty of changes—from an intermittent, on-the-street jam to a 10,000-fan party on the Walker’s hillside, a two-day festival to, in 2016, a one-day, two-stage affair at Boom Island Park. Here’s an authoritative look back at the varied and vibrant history of what’s traditionally been considered the launch of the Twin Cities’ summer concert season.
Getting Down to the Bones
What thread runs through Meredith Monk’s works in film, music-theater, and dance over the past half century? “A sense of multidimensionality,” she tells Deborah Jowitt. “And an attempt to get down to the bones of the form.” Revisited in commemoration of her 50th anniversary as an artist, this 1998 conversation goes deep into the inspirations, processes, and experimentation that have defined Monk’s iconic career.
Meredith Monk and the Walker: A Chronology
For more than 50 years, interdisciplinary artist Meredith Monk has pushed boundaries within her practice, but her explorations of sound, time, and space, in whatever form they’ve taken, all bear her unmistakable signature. In commemoration of more than four decades of partnership with the Walker, we look back at her many commissions, performances, residencies, and gallery appearances.
Il Treno di John Cage
A 1978 trip to Bologna to witness “a prepared train”—a happening on wheels, featuring John Cage and a host of Italian collaborators.
Why the Hell Ornette Went All Up In Eden
“It’s hard to think of any musician whose sonic convictions have been so personally liberating for themselves and so determined to liberate others,” writes Greg Tate of Ornette Coleman, who passed away June 11. “His music did all the things jazz was supposed to do, but in ways that made everybody else, from Coltrane to Cage, sound like they were too fixed, ordered, calibrated and two-dimensional.”
In a time of digital hyperacceleration and an ever-shifting technocultural landscape, we encounter an influx of trends, microgenres, and fads. But how do we talk about music when so much of what we listen to feels transitory and historically inconsequential? Marvin Lin explores our critical voice in the face of such expiring aesthetics.
No !%@#s Given
“The web is where the exceptional force the hands of the famed and established to recognize they’ve been pushing things forward, without their blessing or awareness,” writes Andrew Flanagan of thestand4rd, the St. Paul independent hip hop/R&B quartet that has thrust itself into the limelight—even attracting the attention of Kanye West—in the 11 months since uploading its first single on SoundCloud.
Five Decades, Six Galaxies, and Counting: The AACM at 50
Musical revolutions tend to have a spontaneous outlier quality about them, writes Greg Tate. Fifty years ago in Chicago, far from the Manhattan clubs that drew jazz luminaries like John Coltrane, Sun Ra, and Ornette Coleman, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians was born. Since then the group has carried “freedom swang” around the globe and, through a new wave of visionaries, into the future.
Visceral Live Therapy: A Babes in Toyland Comeback
Paul M. Davis
“I said I’d never, ever do a reunion,” guitarist and singer Kat Bjelland told Rolling Stone recently. And yet this June, after a 14-year hiatus, her seminal punk band Babes in Toyland is returning to the city of its inception to play Rock the Garden 2015. Paul M. Davis looks at the obstacles the band overcame to get here and the “visceral live therapy”—in Bjelland’s words—the reunion represents.