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One Ring Zero

NYS Writers Institute, March 17, 2005
8:00 p.m. Performance | Recital Hall, PAC, Uptown Campus



One Ring Zero is a fun, quirky, humorous, literary pop music band that has come to be known as the "house band" of "McSweeney's," the quarterly magazine and publishing concern founded by bestselling author Dave Eggers. Recipients of a National Endowment for the Arts grant, the band has been featured on several NPR programs, including "Fresh Air," "This American Life," and "The Next Big Thing."


"Never mind the 'Billboard' charts, these guys ought to be on the Times bestseller list." - The "Boston Phoenix"

The band's newest album is "As Smart As We Are" (2004, ISBN 1-932360-42-5), a music CD and accompanying song book, both of which feature original lyrics contributed by a variety of notable authors, including Margaret Atwood, Paul Auster, Dave Eggers, A. M. Homes, Denis Johnson, Jonathan Lethem, Rick Moody and Darin Strauss, among others. The new album also provides the subject of a full-feature documentary, "As Smart As They Are" (2004), by filmmaker Joe Pacheco, featuring live performances, studio sessions, and interviews with many of the authors and guest musicians who participated in the project.

As Smart As We Are"A beautiful shebang of literary and aural mischief. With their smarty-pants patter and killer acid-klezmer ways. . .their absolutely delightful album entertains me to no end."- The "Village Voice"

"Accordions, organs, theremins, and the occasional homemade instrument combine to make soundscapes that are both haunting and entertaining." - "The New Yorker"

"A well-orchestrated booby trap for music lovers everywhere." - Viggo Mortensen

The five-man band features Michael Hearst, Joshua Camp, and friends on a variety of non-standard and home-made instruments, including the claviola, theremin, toy piano, melodica, metallophone, Jones-O-Phone, megamouth, bread machine, power drill, and an amplified box of kitty litter. One Ring Zero's music has been described as "the sounds of a circus parade passing through a cemetery" ("Richmond Music Journal"), "gypsy-klezmer circus-flea-cartoon-music you mainly hear in your dreams" ("The Forward") and "Jewish wedding music played by ghosts and goblins, a buzzingly angular Balkan soundscape…" ("Throttle Magazine").

Based in New York City, One Ring Zero performs regularly at The Knitting Factory, Joe's Pub, Barbès, and Tonic. They have also performed at a variety of music venues and cultural institutions in the U.S. and Canada including the Whitney Museum of Art, Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park, Central Park Summer Stage with George Plimpton and Paul Auster, Book Expo America in Chicago, the Calgary Folk Festival, and Toronto's Harbourfront Centre. The band has shared billings with Cibo Matto; Medeski, Martin, and Wood; The Magnetic Fields; and Thurston Moore among others.

Other CDs by the band include "Memorandum" (2003), featuring a number of songs by novelist Rick Moody; "alice" (2002), featuring thirteen songs inspired by Lewis Carroll's "Alice" stories; "Interludes and Out-takes from the Pumpkin Pie Show"(2002); and "Tranz Party" (1999).

Original music by Hearst and Camp will also be featured on the forthcoming self-titled CD, "Sophie Auster" (March 2005). The 16-year-old daughter of novelist Paul Auster, Sophie Auster sings the translated poetry of Robert Desnos, Guillaume Apollinaire, Paul Eluard, Tristan Tzara, Philippe Soupault, and a few works by her father.

Cosponsored by University Art Museum's Art & Culture Talks

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.