Wild Up Launches “Darkness Sounding” in Venues Around L.A.

Victoria Looseleaf on December 3, 2019
wild Up

One of Southern California’s preeminent new-music groups, wild Up, is giving a series of concerts to combat holiday overload and the general malaise that comes with shorter days and longer nights. Called “darkness sounding,” with the subtitle “mindful music during the darkest days of the year,” the mini-festival, curated by wild Up Artistic Director Christopher Rountree, will feature 11 concerts and various conversations and opportunities “to gather and reflect.”

Running Dec. 12 – Jan. 18, the programs take place at several sites, including Human Resources LA in Chinatown and the Philosophical Research Society in Los Feliz. In a nod to the full moon, the series kicks off with “Desert Moon” at the Creosote House in Joshua Tree, with the ensemble performing text scores and improvisations inspired by space.

Christopher Rountree | Credit: Rus Anson

Says Rountree, “We gather to observe existence and to feel the rotation of the earth, as we see the sun and moon come and go as the stars appear out one by one. It is easy to feel very big and very small out there.”

On Dec. 13, pianist Richard Valitutto performs the West Coast premiere of SOVT (semi-occluded vocal tract), Sarah Hennies’s hour-long work with muted piano at California Percussion Rental - LA. In addition, beginning Dec. 15 and continuing throughout the festival (Dec. 29 and Jan. 5 and 11, 2020), spirituality is the focus, when the first of four satsangs (spiritual discourses) takes place. Singer/composer Odeya Nini and Rountree will lead discussions, group sings, sound baths, and readings on the topic of community at Los Angeles’s Craft in America Center.

Other offerings include a solo electric concert by wild Up guitarist Jiji (Dec. 20), while audiences can usher in the first day of winter with “Solstice Sounding.” The dusk-to-dawn event begins at 4:30 p.m., Dec. 21, and ends at 7 a.m., Dec. 22. The festival concludes on Jan. 19 with a set of spatially-arrayed works for strings by, among others, Steve Reich, Luciano Berio and Andrew McIntosh.

A calendar of wild Up’s upcoming events can be found here, and tickets are available via Eventbrite.

Musicians of wild Up conducted by Christopher Rountree | Credit: Kitty Hu/CAP UCLA