Last year, the Red Bull Music Academy came to New York for a monthlong series of events, lectures and artist development. The public got a chance to see one-off concerts, while developing artists from around the world came to the city to collaborate and learn from the best.
The Academy moves on each year to a different locale; the 2014 edition is in Tokyo. But owing either to New York’s rapturous response or the concentration of locally-available talent, Red Bull is setting up shop for the month of May with what is being called RBMA 2013’s legacy: The Red Bull Music Academy Festival, with reprises of last year’s concerts and new artists and showcases.
With a month of events, what should a New York music fan focus on? Here are four suggestions:
Four Corners of the Clash — May 9, Baby’s All Right, Williamsburg
Last year’s Culture Clash was a competition, a fight for soundboy superiority, with the bass-heavy (and appropriately named) Trouble and Bass taking the crown. In 2014, the combatants — Just Blaze, Que Bajo and Max Glaser — will reunite with T&B in friendship, with the focus on moving the crowd.
A Night of Improvised Round Robin Duets — May 14, Town Hall
Last year’s lineup for the freestyle competition, where artists collaborate for five minutes, then yield the stage, included ?uestlove of The Roots, Andrew W.K., Kim Gordon and Thundercat, among many others. This year’s participants, like Jamie Lidell, Allen Toussaint and Daedelus, have some work to do to match 2013.
A Conversation with D’Angelo– May 21, Brooklyn Museum
The lecture with the soul superstar is expected to be a mixture of music theory, life stories and irate audience members yelling questions about his long-delayed, “Detox”-esque third album.
Hudson Mohawke and Friends — May 28, Webster Hall
A Scottish producer who has worked with Kanye West and Drake, among others, Mohawke has put together a resume that most would kill for — all in the five years following his debut album. The RBMA 2007 graduate also has a contact list full of big names, making the “and Friends” part of the show a tantalizing promise.