Garage Museum of Contemporary Art presents the second season of Mosaic Music—a series of unique events featuring live performances by Russian and international artists and musicians who have influenced the history of music in the twentieth century, and changed our understanding of contemporaneity through sound. This season’s program will take place between May and August 2017, and will be held in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
On May 25, the season opened with a concert by British musician Jack Garratt. Last year the 25-year-old Londoner won the BBC Sound Of 2016 list, previously awarded to Ellie Goulding, Adele, and Sam Smith, promising a big international career. The jury decided that Garratt had all the skills of a twenty-first century pop star: a singer-songwriter with a voice range allowing him to switch from a manly roar to a tender falsetto, he is also a human orchestra—or a human computer—performing his compositions on his own with an electric guitar, keyboards, samplers, drum machines and effects. Finding its place somewhere between the digital soul of James Blake and Ed Sheeran’s guitar ballads, Garratt’s music is a contemporary mix of Stevie Wonder-style beautiful melodies and an electronic beat inherited from British drum and bass and garage.
Electronic musician and rapper Steven Ellison, best known under his stage name Flying Lotus, gave his first concert in Russia at Garage on June 19. No text about Steven Ellison goes without a mention of his family: his grandmother, singer-songwriter Marilyn McLeod, wrote songs for Diana Ross and Motown, and her sister Alice Coltrane was a famous pianist and wife of the great saxophonist John Coltrane. In 2006, Ellison entered an open call from Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim and composed music for the channel’s psychedelic bumpers.
With an impressively broad range of influences and tastes, Flying Lotus has collaborated with jazz guru Herbie Hancock and rap stars Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar. A graduate of the Los Angeles Film School, Ellison also makes the visuals for his avant-garde electronic jazz-rap performances. In 2017, he presented his debut feature film Kuso at the Sundance Film Festival. Exploring Ellison’s personal fears, Kuso has been referred to as ‘the grossest movie ever made.’
The third event of this season’s program is the concert by the British trio London Grammar, taking place on July 19—a month after the release of their second album. Nottingham University graduates Hannah Reid, Dan Rothman and Dominic Major first achieved acclaim in 2012, when their song Hey Now became a YouTube hit. A year later, their debut album If You Wait was chosen as the iTunes album of the year. Their new album, produced by Paul Epworth, who has worked with Adele, Coldplay, and Paul McCartney, is a mix of American soul and British dream pop of the 1980s, mesmerizing sound textures and Hannah Reid’s delicate singing. On July 20, the band will perform at New Holland Island in Saint Petersburg.
On August 3, Garage will host a concert by Digable Planets, a band formed in Brooklyn in 1987, composed of rappers Ishmael Butler, Mary Ann Vieira, and Craig Irving. Their 1993 debut album Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space) became a bestseller, and their single Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat) brought the band a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1994. The band split during the recording of their second album, and members pursued solo careers. Reunited twenty years later, Digable Planets are now promising to release a new album, which might again bring to rap the elegance of classical jazz. On August 4, Digable Planets will perform at New Holland Island in Saint Petersburg and on August 5, the band will give a concert at Boris Yeltsin Presidential Center in Yekaterinburg.
On August 22, the season closed with a concert by Norwegian-born Stockholm-based singer-songwriter Ane Brun. With seven successful albums and several awards to her name, Brun has toured across the world and recorded a song with Peter Gabriel. Her first albums, influenced by Joni Mitchell and Kate Bush, were recorded to an acoustic guitar. Her third album Changing of the Seasons, produced by Valgeir Sigurðsson, who has collaborated with Bjork, Sigur Rós and CocoRosie, brought Brun international acclaim. On her latest album When I’m Free, recorded in 2015, Brun’s clever melodies, elegant arrangements and theatrical performance are accompanied by an electronic beat. On August 23, Ane Brun will perform at New Holland Island in Saint Petersburg.