Wild Up Announces ‘Julius Eastman Vol. 4: The Holy Presence’ + “Our Father” Out Today via New Amsterdam Records

Photo by Alex K. Brown
May 1 2024

Our Father
Piano 2
Prelude To The Holy Presence Of Joan D’Arc
The Holy Presence Of Joan D’Arc

“Our Father” is out now, buy/stream it here.

Julius Eastman Vol. 4: The Holy Presence is out June 21, preorder it here.

Today, Wild Up — the multiple-time GRAMMY®-nominated contemporary music ensemble that has been called “a raucous, grungy, irresistibly exuberant … fun-loving, exceptionally virtuosic family” by The New York Times and turned in a stunning NPR Tiny Desk performance last year — announces Julius Eastman Vol. 4: The Holy Presence, out June 21, 2024 via New Amsterdam Records. Pre-order Julius Eastman Vol. 4: The Holy Presence here.

Accompanying the album announcement is the lead track, “Our Father,” an accompanied duet with both vocal parts performed by Davóne Tines. With open harmonies that gesture toward Gregorian chant but are imbued with a dark reverence suiting the unknowable mystery of a higher power and the eternal stakes of mortal souls, “Our Father” will, for many, expose an idiosyncratic yet almost traditionalist side of Eastman’s ever-evolving sound. Listen to “Our Father” here.

The Holy Presence is the latest entry in Wild Up’s ongoing anthology exploring the works of Julius Eastman, the late composer who not only took innovative approaches to orchestration and musical notation but injected a defiantly Black, queer perspective into the overwhelmingly white, straight world of classical music.

With The Holy Presence, Wild Up digs ever deeper into Eastman’s oeuvre, performing lesser-known works that represent a mystically charged and spiritually reflective vein of his dynamic catalog. Featuring lead contributions from Davóne Tines (the rising performer who The New Yorker says is “changing what it means to be a classical singer”) and long-time Wild Up members Richard Valitutto (deemed “a keyboard superstar” by The New Yorker) and Seth Parker Woods (who The Guardian calls “a cellist of power and grace”), The Holy Presence also emphasizes some of the singular talents who count themselves among Wild Up’s broader collective.

Valitutto is an expressive blur on the tumultuous “Piano 2,” while Tines lends an authoritative ominousness to the aforementioned “Our Father” and the acapella “Prelude To The Holy Presence Of Joan D’Arc.” However, the collection’s undeniable centerpiece is “The Holy Presence Of Joan D’Arc,” Eastman’s tribute to the medieval heroine who somewhat paradoxically has become both the personification of fiery religious conviction and a retrospective queer icon.

The inclusion of “The Holy Presence Of Joan d’Arc” owes itself to the dedicated scholarship of Clarice Jensen but also to Seth Parker Woods’ herculean ambition. Performed solely by Woods on ten multi-tracked cello parts, it’s a towering achievement captured with furious precision and tenacity.

Wild Up will celebrate the release of The Holy Presence with a live performance at Los Angeles’s 2220 Arts + Archives on June 21. Full details here.

2021’s Julius Eastman Vol. 1: Femenine was hailed as “a masterpiece” (The New York Times), “instantly recognizable” (Vogue), “absorbing” (Pitchfork, in its 8.1 review), and “singularly jubilant” (NPR Music).

2022’s Julius Eastman Vol. 2: Joy Boy was called “glorious” by NPR, and The Wall Street Journal said, “in its dramatic variation and reverence, Wild Up’s take on Eastman’s work seems particularly faithful to the versatile and cantankerous spirit of the man.” The album’s performance of “Stay On It” was nominated for a 2023 GRAMMY for Best Orchestral Performance. Listen to it here.

2023’s Julius Eastman Vol. 3: If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich? was called “a deliriously great tribute” (The Guardian). The album is nominated for a 2024 GRAMMY for Best Classical Compendium. Listen to it here.

Earlier this year, Wild Up reconvened Darkness Sounding, their acclaimed outdoor festival centered around mindfulness and nature, featuring drone, minimal, and ambient music. The New York Times calls it “sincere, outdoorsy, trippy…a music festival that breathes Los Angeles.” This year’s festival — hosted by TreePeople, the largest environmental movement headquartered in Southern California, and put on in collaboration with the outdoor art series feels like floating — featured the work of composers Claire Rousay, Leilehua Lanzillotti, inti figgis-vizueta, mattie barbier, Ellen Arkbro, Odeya Nini, Booker Stardrum, and Patrick Shiroishi.