With Big Beautiful Dark and Scary, the Bang on a Can All-Stars show off their blazing speed, polyrhythmic virtuosity and all-world versatility in a return to the core Bang on a Can sound - an uncategorizable supermix of classical and electric instruments that is part classical ensemble, part rock band, and part jazz sextet. The album is the first in a decade that features the All-Stars exclusively, rather than as part of a collaborative project. Each of the pieces on the double-CD calls upon a different kind of virtuosity, demonstrating the range of musical abilities and experiences arguably unique to this ensemble. Recorded in New York City, all of the music on Big Beautiful Dark and Scary (including the arrangements of the works by Conlon Nancarrow) were written for and premiered by the Bang on a Can All-Stars.
This album collects some of the greatest music the band has made over its 25 years of being dedicated to 'awesome' --San Francisco Classical Voice
NPR Classical's Favorite Albums Of 2012 (So Far): Who would have thought that the wild youth of the avant-garde, the Bang on a Can collective, would be celebrating their 25th anniversary? They offered free downloads of this 2-CD set as a gift to fans. One of the highlights is For Madeline, a harrowing tribute by Michael Gordon on the passing of his mother. The music is not sentimental, but evokes some specific sonic images including beautiful reimaginings of traditional Jewish sounds. Listen for echoes of the shofar, the ram's horn of the High Holy Days, and the Kaddish prayer of mourning. --NPR Deceptive Cadence, Tom Huizenga, June 13, 2012