A few years ago, when I was on tour performing the collaborative record I did with Brian Eno, one of the dancer/musicians with me passed on a request from a guy named Jherek Bischoff. Jherek was asking if I'd write words and sing on an orchestral track he had done. These kinds of requests come in from time to time, and mostly they don't go anywhere, but one listen to Jherek's track and I said yes. There were strings, glockenspiel and ukelele—those seemed to be the main instruments in that arrangement. It was unlike anything I'd heard: odd and gorgeous.
The song ended up being called “Eyes,” and Jherek released a whole album of these collaborations with various singers (Caetano Veloso even sang one), and then came the daunting task of actually performing the material. In the meantime he went on tour with Amanda Palmer.
We eventually did a show as part of the Ecstatic Music Festival that Judd Greenstein organizes at Merkin Hall, and then again a different version as part of music festival in Tasmania—for which we added some other tunes and backed Neil Gaiman, as well.
Now, Jherek has a show at St Ann’s joined by the small orchestra, Contemporaneous, and we'll not only reprise some of those arrangements, but we'll do some new ones, too. The other singers and collaborators are Nika Danilova (of Zola Jesus), Sondre Lerche, Greg Saunier (of Deerhoof) and Mirah Zeitlyn, so it promises to be pretty special.