Yakropolis, a collaboration between industrial folk trio, YAK and the Akropolis Reed Quintet has created a “many-headed octaphonic sound beast.” In partnership with Detroit Bureau of Sound, PLAYGROUND DETROIT is hosting a special performance by Yakropolis featuring an immersive experience with a solo harp performance from Ahya Simone (of Seraphine Collective) and 3D projection mapping on May 4th.
Learn more about this exciting collaborative music showcase featuring Matt Landry of Akropolis, Zac Brunell of Detroit Bureau of Sound and more! Tickets are now on sale for $10, include complimentary drinks (21 and up).
YAK is an industrial folk group and a product of the Detroit Bureau of Sound. The trio is made up of Violinist Yuri Popowycz, percussionist Zac Burnell and Jonah Raduns-Silverstein on octatrack and effects. You can check out their latest release, ‘Bardo‘, here or on any streaming platform. We caught up with Zac Brunell to ask a few questions about their music and upcoming performance on May 4th (also Zac’s birthday!)
What is the importance of an experience-based event featuring instrumental artists?
Zac Brunell: There’s something magic about witnessing someone playing an instrument. Listening is primal action, something we instinctively do, and we can’t ever stop listening. Watching someone make live music seems to strike us at a very molecular level down to our DNA. Our primary goal for every Detroit Bureau of Sound concert is to bring people closer to their inner listener.
What was the inspiration behind the collaboration between Yak, Akropolis and Ben Keeler’s visuals?
ZB: YAK and Akropolis are ensembles that both come from the tradition of classical music. Together we’ll create music that can be considered “spectral” in that it covers the full spectrum of human hearing and uses this range of frequencies as a form of instrument. Mimicking this spectrum for the ears with a visual palate can be a nice way to bring the listener a full experience, so with the combined forces of Yakropolis and Ben Keeler’s projections we hope to elevate the experience of a concert to something a bit more spiritual and transportive.
Akropolis Reed Quintet
The Akropolis Reed Quintetwas founded in 2009 at the University of Michigan and is the first ever ensemble of its makeup to win a Fischoff Gold Medal (2014) as well as the Grand Prize at the Plowman and MTNA national competitions. Hailed by Fanfare Magazine for its “imagination, infallible musicality, and huge vitality.”
Their unique instrumentation consists of oboist Tim Gocklin, clarinetist Kari Landry, saxophonist Matt Landry, bassoonist Ryan Reynolds, and bass clarinetist Andrew Koeppe. Akropolis has commissioned over 25 reed quintet works and recorded three albums, the latest of which, ‘The Space Between Us‘, is available on Spotify and Apple Music. This performance is from the “Together We Sound” music festival.
Can you speak a little about your collaboration with YAK and what listeners can expect from your combined performance?
Matt Landry of ARQ: This is an electro-acoustic collaboration, meaning the audience will hear the instruments acoustically, but that amplification and digital effects will be used to augment the sounds and create a new sonic landscape. We will have 8 musicians overall, and the reed quintet has chosen to perform on the lower instruments in each family, so we’ll have a contrabassoon, bass clarinet, and baritone saxophone. The piece we’ll perform together is composed by YAK’s Zac Brunell and includes moments of improvisation and wonderful sonic blends. We’ve worked on it collaboratively and experimented with different sound possibilities. This new piece will allow listeners to experience a large-scale piece of music in a way that they may never have before. Fans of classical, experimental, electronic, and more will find something to enjoy in the way we’ve layered all the sounds together.
Tell me a little more about the community programing that Akropolis is involved in and the importance of music/arts education in Detroit.
ML: This concert at Playground Detroit is part of our Detroit festival called “Together We Sound,” and is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, CultureSoure, Quicken Loans, and others. During TWS we perform concerts of new music in collaboration with Detroit artists, including a concert at the DIA on June 1st with soprano Shara Nova of My Brightest Diamond. We also deliver educational outreach to Detroit high schools, elementary schools, at office buildings, and in pop-up concerts. Detroit has a rich musical history that we must preserve. We also must ensure that the surrounding communities understand the cultural significance of Detroit, and that Detroit’s youth can make it even more vibrant. Many great artists have come from Detroit’s high schools, and our residency each year aims to strengthen the music programs at Detroit’s high schools and help reinvigorate the performing arts for youth in the city. All our activities are meant to make exceptional classical music accessible to everyone, and as a chamber music ensemble we’re especially suited to doing that. We enjoy performing in a variety of settings around the city for diverse audiences with varying expectations.
Ahya Simone is a multi-talented classically trained harpist, composer, model, and trans activist. She has performed with Tunde Olaniran at TEDx Detroit (an incredibly moving duet), scored dream hampton and T. Miller’s “Treasure: From Tragedy to Trans Justice Mapping – A Detroit Story”, and was in a Barneys New York campaign that was featured in Vogue. Watch her incredible performances at the DIA here.
Ben Keeler is a musician and projectioneer based in Detroit. His 3D projection mapping techniques will cover the walls of the PLAYGROUND DETROIT gallery during the show, with a debut of brand new material. Find out a little more about Ben and projection mapping below.
What can guests expect from your 3D projections?
BK: I will be essentially aligning projected video to the exact dimensions of the walls, ceiling, floor, instruments, etc. I do a lot with audio triggered media, allowing for the projections to move with the music. Projection mapping is technique where I project media through a string of software that allows me to manipulate video content in real time and also map that media to the shape of a room.
How does performing visual media compare to performing music?
BK: For me, performing music is more of an emotional and physical expression. A hypnotic automatic state sets in where decision making really isn’t in play. Projection visuals are more about aesthetic decisions, mixing and matching visual tools to compliment and enhance the vibe of the room. They are both creative endeavors that focus on “in the moment” expression, so in that sense…they are similar. But overall they exist in different performance orbits for me.
Join us for this special performance at PLAYGROUND DETROIT on May 4th. Doors are at 7pm.
CAPACITY IS LIMITED!
TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE HERE
RSVP ON FACEBOOK HERE
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