Wild Up Announces Return Of LA Outdoor Ambient Festival Darkness Sounding

Photo by Alex K. Brown
January 4 2024

Fresh off a 2024 GRAMMY nomination and a stunning NPR Tiny Desk performance, Wild Up — the contemporary music ensemble that has been called “a raucous, grungy, irresistibly exuberant … fun-loving, exceptionally virtuosic family” by The New York Times — have announced a packed slate of performances for early 2024, featuring a dozen World and West Coast Premieres and workshops of three large-scale new works.

////Darkness Sounding

After a two-year hiatus, Wild Up have announced the January return of Darkness Sounding, which The New York Times called “sincere, outdoorsy, trippy…a music festival that breathes Los Angeles.” Darkness Sounding explores how sound and music shape our understanding of the world. It convenes around mindfulness and nature, featuring drone, minimal, and ambient music, and aims to foster awareness and understanding to expand our connections to ourselves, each other, and the natural world.

This year’s festival will be a partnership between TreePeople, the largest environmental movement headquartered in Southern California, and the outdoor art series feels like floating. It will feature the work of composers claire rousay, Leilehua Lanzillotti, inti figgis-vizueta, mattie barbier, Ellen Arkbro, Odeya Nini, Booker Stardrum, and Patrick Shiroishi.

Darkness Sounding performances take place at the scenic and serene TreePeople, high above LA on Mulholland Drive, on January 19, 20, 27, & 28. Tickets and info are available here. 

////Endless Season + Other Performances

Wild Up has also announced the initial programming for its second iteration of Endless Seasonits year-long celebration of new music in Los Angeles. Says Wild Up Artistic Director Christopher Rountree: “With our second Endless Season, Wild Up is endeavoring to gather and codify a generation of Los Angeles music makers. Brought together around a spirit of openness and curiosity — across genres and disparate practices, these artists communicate themselves with sounds and concepts steeped in the West. With numerous shows, two festivals, a few workshops, and five hours of world premieres throughout the season, it is our most ambitious collection of shows in LA ever.”

Additionally, Wild Up has a six-date Spring Tour planned with stops at Stanford Live, Cal Performances, Sonoma State, the Tutti Festival Denison University, Cleveland Institute of Music, and TO Live in Toronto, playing the music of Julius Eastman, Jürg Frey, Anthony Braxton, inti figgis-vizueta, and Felipe Lara.

The entire Wild Up schedule can be found here.

////Eastman Volume 4

Wild Up is currently at work on the fourth volume of their seven-part anthology of 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. More on Julius Eastman Vol. 4 to be shared soon.

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.