Pop music has been waking up to the wonders of classical and experimental vocal techniques in recent years, but Eliza Bagg was especially well prepared to bridge the divide. The North Carolina-born Yale graduate, who is now bicoastally based, had already performed in a Meredith Monk opera, toured in Roomful of Teeth, and mastered challenging music by Julius Eastman, Michael Gordon, and John Zorn when she revealed her avant-pop project, Lisel. She had also collaborated with indie ambient artists such as Julianna Barwick and Tim Hecker.
In 2019, those worlds softly, brilliantly collided in Angels on the Slope, where Bagg garlands expert Renaissance polyphony and post-minimalist patterns with leafy synthesizers, glitchy beats, and unrestrained vocal processing, forging a distinctly modern sound that “revels in small electro-pop ecstasies,” as NPR said. Bagg expanded this crystalline terrain with Mycelial Echo in 2021, cutting her computerized vocal inventions razor-thin and nestling them deep in the organic electronic fields of Booker Stardrum.
An electro-classical alchemist on par with Shara Nova, Bagg is developing a “fractured, futurist form of pop” (WNYC) that collapses the distance between the seventeenth and twenty-first centuries, making the former feel thrillingly recent and latter resplendent with history. She also sings in two other Big Ears concerts, with Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK Ensemble and Ellis Ludwig-Leone’s False We Hope.