New York is set to receive an 80mg boost of musical caffeine this May. Returning for its third consecutive year, the traveling Red Bull Music Academy has just announced its lineup of events, shows, and speakers spread across the city and month. With various events ranging from a conversation with an innovator of minimalistic compositions (La Monte Young) to the revival of the underground Storm Rave warehouse parties, the festival will continue its mission of honoring and appreciating music that comes with a taurine kick.
Initiation begins on the first with Electronic Africa, featuring Angolan singer/dancer Titica and South African artists DJ Spoko and Nozinja. Hailing from Egypt and making his U.S. debut is Islam Chipsy and his band, equipped with two rapid-fire drummers, EEK.
The public conversation series is a staple of the festival, and this year’s set includes P-Funk commander George Clinton, Harlem hip-hop champion A$AP Rocky, and drone music legend La Monte Young, whom Brian Eno once called “the daddy of us all.”
Just about every strand of party music is represented with New York’s own Que Bajo?!’s Tropical sounds, a Jamaican dancehall Brooklyn Bashment, pop-music shifters PC Music and SOPHIE, and the resurrection of the fabled Storm Rave after a 22-year absence. Maintaining past tradition of keeping it weird and wild, the Nothing Changes party will focus on raw sound transgressions featuring our city’s own Pharmakon with her underground experiments and Japanese noise curator Merzbow. FKA twigs will expand her performance spectacle with a ten-piece dance ensemble and costumes designed by British visionary design house Alexander McQueen in back-to-back shows during the middle of the month. And if your legs haven’t given out by then, New York’s art, music, and fashion blender GHE20GOTH1K returns after a dormant year with leader Venus X back at the helm.
Shying away from the party-centric affairs are events like Kid Million’s 100 Disciplines, where the esteemed drummer, along with a troupe of percussionists, is set to perform in the Brooklyn Museum’s Beaux-Arts Court. Manhattan experimental producer Arthur Russell’s legacy will be honored by musicians Dev Hynes, Phosphorescent, Rubblebucket, and more by performing tracks off of last year’s tribute compilation Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell. In remaining consistent with previous festivals, the Brooklyn Flea Record Fair returns with label leaders from Mexican Summer, RVNG, Mister Saturday Night, and Have a Killer Time ready to meet and discuss their work. Celebrating its fifth Anniversary is Tri Angle Records with a bash in a basement vault of an old J.P. Morgan building off Wall Street. The early Eighties radio days will be the subject of this year’s Studio Talk roundtable discussion, coinciding with the release of the upcoming documentary Revolutions On Air, New York City Radio 1980–1984.
The Red Bull Music Academy Festival begins on May 1 and concludes on May 30 with the Arthur Russell tribute concert. Ticket information is available here. For the full calendar, see below.