Daniel Knox: John Atwood Black & Whites
Posted In: Daniel Knox, Daniel Knox: John Atwood Black & Whites, John Atwood
Comments: No Responses
As an artist in residence at Robert Wilson’s esteemed Watermill Center in Water Mill, NY, Nov 29 – Jan 22, Daniel Knox created a long-form composition and song cycle based on the photographs of John Atwood. The pieces, titled John Atwood: Black & Whites, premiered live at 92YTribeca in New York City on January 25, 2012 along with an exhibition of Atwood’s photos.
Knox is a songwriter and composer from Springfield, IL, living and working in Chicago. His most recent album, Everyman For Himself, was released in 2011 on the American independent label La Société Expéditionnaire. He has performed throughout the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland with artists such as Jarvis Cocker, David Lynch, and Rufus Wainwright.
Knox trades on the tension created when alluring melodies and his rich tenor are mixed with bone-dry tales and his biting, sardonic wit. Similarly, Atwood has a knack for drawing beauty out of dark corners and attracting and repelling in equal measure. His portraits of disenchantment, drunkenness, detritus, exposure, exhaustion, and delusion, whether damning or celebrating, are striking and resonant.
Knox’s central long-form work, along with affiliated shorter pieces, was performed by piano, voice, bass, horns, strings, accordion and percussion. The music focused at the intersection of serious composition and popular song in much the same way as the works of Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, and Irving Berlin – and more recently – Gavin Bryars, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Hynrick Gorecki, and David Byrne.
The collaboration was a chance for two distinctive artists from the same Heartland hometown to explore the similar veins running through their work and their combined voices expressed nothing less than a new American Gothic.