The innovative chamber ensemble brings their virtuosic performances, uncompromising vision, and commitment to artistic integrity to their newest venture
2022 Releases include: Music for Hard Times (composer Danny Clay, out Jan 18, 2022), Lyra (composer Samuel Adams), Shāh-Nāmeh: Book of Kings (composer Sahba Aminikia), and A Kind of Ache (composer Sarah Hennies)
THE LIVING EARTH SHOW (TLES) is one of the most virtuosic chamber ensembles in the United States and a cutting-edge commissioning and presenting organization. Starting in 2022, The Living Earth Show will launch a record label: EARTHY RECORDS.
TLES built its record label, Earthy Records, as a challenge to the status quo in classical music. The new label gives composers unparalleled agency in every step of the process: from the generation of their most ambitious musical idea to the arrival of that idea in the ears of the public. TLES offers composers simultaneous access to the performers interpreting their score and the tools to design their live production in any way they can imagine.
“We believe it is a travesty how quickly after a performance the music disappears,” Andrews shares. “In a traditional symphony, the composing may take years, there are only three rehearsals, and then never play it again. That’s insane.”
Earthy Records plans to produce and distribute quarterly releases of career defining artistic statements by some of the most vital composers in the United States. Each album will exist digitally, as a limited run physical album, a full length film, and as a written score.
The first slate of 2022 recordings for Earthy Records include: MUSIC FOR HARD TIMES (composer DANNY CLAY out Jan 18, 2022), LYRA (composer SAMUEL ADAMS), SHĀH-NĀMEH: BOOK OF KINGS (composer SAHBA AMINIKIA), and A KIND OF ACHE (composer SARAH HENNIES).
Described succinctly as “just insanely good at their instruments,” (WQXR) and as “invigorating classical music” (South Carolina Post & Courier), The Living Earth Show was co-founded by percussionist and artistic director ANDY MEYERSON and electric guitarist TRAVIS ANDREWS in San Francisco 2010, and gained national prominence for its fully memorized, “outstanding” (San Francisco Chronicle) and “transcendent” (Charleston City Paper) performances of works by the most prominent composers making classical music today.
In its last full live performance season, TLES presented work at Davies Symphony Hall, the Cloisters at the Met Museum, the flooded ruins of Sutro Baths, and Stanford University, in addition to all ages DIY punk clubs 824 Gilman and The Smell. TLES has worked in collaboration with the Kronos Quartet, Youth Speaks, visual artist Terry Berlier, the dancers of Post:ballet, and some of the most prominent queer and trans rappers, singers, and drag queens on the west coast.
ABOUT THE 2022 ALBUMS:
Music for Hard Times was constructed as an act of experimental music in the truest sense, asking a fundamental research question: can the tools of the classical music tradition be used to make people feel better? Developed in a series of workshops and masterclasses over the course of a semester, The Living Earth Show and Danny Clay worked with students from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music to realize and add their own new pages to the living score that was designed to be performed and recorded in isolation.
Deemed a “mesmerizing wordless meditation” (The San Francisco Chronicle), The Living Earth Show and Post: ballet performed the multidisciplinary world premiere Lyra as part of the San Francisco PIVOT Festival with the movement of choreographer Vanessa Thiessen and the cinematography of Benjamin Tarquin. Featuring the music of Gugenheim Fellow composer Samuel Adams, Lyra is rooted in the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, and delves into today's most urgent questions regarding empathy, technology, and our relationship to the natural world.
Shāh-nāmeh: Book of Kings is a multimedia animated film and live production created for The Living Earth Show by Iranian American composer Sahba Aminikia, Syrian American animator Kevork Mourad, and Iranian actress Mozhdeh Shamsai narrating text of the 10th century Persian epic poem of the same title. The piece draws a contemporary interpretation of the original book and establishes a direct connection between the ancient text and current affair of global politics.
A Kind of Ache began as an installation and concert length work created by composer Sarah Hennies, visual artist Terry Berlier, and TLES that deconstructs, reconstructs, and queers everyday objects in the service of creating and investigating the concept and possibility of creating “queer space.” Connected by a fascination with what they term queer objects—small thrift store hand bells and mis-matched pan lids—Hennies and Berlier collaborate in bringing these percussive objects together in a new installation imagining creating and demarcating a “queer-only” space, as this environment is nearly unattainable in every day life. What, ask the collaborating artists, would it feel like to be the majority?
Future releases for subsequent years are already planned, and include:
2023: albums by Ellen Fullman, Terry Riley, Sharmi Basu, and Adrian Knight
2024: albums by Christopher Cerrone, Pamela Z, Raven Chacon, and M. Lamar
“It’s the logical conclusion of really loving our collaborators, feeling as if they deserve to be heard by more people and have greater impact,” Andrews states. “What's the next thing that we can do to further that goal? Start a label.”
In addition to the works on Earthy Records, in March 2022, Kill Rock Stars will release the self-titled debut album by COMMANDO, a rap-rock/nü metal collective featuring five of the most iconic and influential queer and trans vocalists in the United States. Started by TLES in 2016, COMMANDO facilitated the creation of a San Francisco-based collective of queer and trans artists, coming together together to use the traditionally heteronormative vocabulary of heavy metal, rap, and poetry as a unified site to aggressively celebrate queerness and dismantle hetero-patriarchy in live performances, a national tour, and a forthcoming album.
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Read full press release here