Standing on the Corner
Bourse de Commerce - Pinault Collection
75001 Paris, France
The New York collective Standing on the Corner often calls itself an “art ensemble,” a moniker that helps outline its approach to music and performance, while hinting at the group’s creative roots and perspective. With composer, conductor, and co-founder Gio Escobar (b. 1995) at the center of a band line-up that’s seldom the same for consecutive performances, each of which might feature a radically different concept and repertoire, SOTC moves freely yet decisively between jazz improvisations, dub excursions, garage-noise freak-outs, and lo-fi hip-hop collage, giving prescience to Hua Hsu’s observation that its music sounds like “field recordings from a vanishing city.” SOTC’s work is deeply wedded to this sense of place. Since they began operating in 2014, its members, predominantly from the US and the Caribbean, with Escobar emphasizing his Nuyorican heritage, have become key representatives of New York’s new interborough musical avant-garde, a leading edge of a young creative Blackness. Just as the collective’s sound is in constant, determined flux, so are the media through which it’s presented: SOTC’s four albums-cum-mixtapes, a couple of singles, and occasional short-run films/video installations are as central to the group’s legend as its concerts and happenings, which can take place in a club or DIY space, at a museum or an art house theater, each venue carrying its own specificity of liberative intent. The group cultivates a changing aesthetic using the perceptivity of hip-hop natives to make historical reappraisals through a contemporary lens, filtering both via the dignity of local community values. The reason Standing on the Corner has developed a wide cast of admirers—from underground jazz experimentalists and popular musicians to gallerists and curators—is the group’s clear illustration of these connections as a constant ingredient in the continuum of African Diasporic music. And a renewal of the idea that the “art ensemble” is the best way to get these ideas over. “Que Viva Puerto Rico Libre!”
The Bourse de Commerce is fully accessible for those with disabilities.