In my column for the weekend paper, I took a look at underground music shows — one-off experiences put together by filmmakers and musicians in odd locations, merging sound and place for a whole new experience. I’ve become addicted to this lean style of musical performance, which allows viewers behind their computers to experience the sound about as raw as can be.
One group that has begun to work in this form is Mason Jar Music, a production company that moonlights as short filmmakers, bringing artists, orchestras and the unusual architecture of New York together.
Mason Jar Music offered up the chance to premiere their short film with musician Abigail Washburn today and I eagerly took them up. Washburn, a rising star, who mixes Chinese and American music with banjo-playing, went with the group to an old abandoned hotel for this music short. There Washburn, more than a dozen orchestral players (including a harmonium player) and a conductor performed the lyrical title song of her album “City of Refuge.” In the video, Washburn lingers over her tune; the building brass and rumble of drums in the background adds the gentlest touch of drama to her haunting song.
It’s a sumptuous symphony of sound: