The Lineup


Hubble

Brooklyn, N.Y.

In the abstract, the idea of a dude standing alone onstage with an electric guitar, tapping and shredding, can be a bit of a hard sell. In practice, at least when Hubble's Ben Greenberg does it, the question is no longer a matter of cool or uncool, but of a visceral and physical listening experience. It is also a distinct emotional expression in the spiritual free music tradition of John Coltrane or Philip Glass. And it's definitely more like staring into one of Byron Gysin's Dream Machines than listening to a music school nerd, with or without closing one's eyes.

Based in New York, Greenberg is part of a circle of musicians who engage in physically rigorous performances as a means to the transcendental, chief among them radikal new-musikeers Zs, of which Greenberg is a member, as well Oneida (legendary for their nine-plus hour sets). Over the past half-decade, Greenberg has played with a number of bands, including the recently abandoned abrasive punk trio Pygmy Shrews, which he led. He has spent part of this year touring with The Men, a band he has also recorded in his home studio.

Focusing on Hubble for the past year or so, Greenberg released Hubble Drums in November on Northern-Spy in the midst of an avalanche of output from the Zs collective. The album provided the most basic iteration of Greenberg's Hubble as a traditional recording. Since then, Greenberg has expanded the concept into wildly panned stereo performances and, for "Hubble Superposition," even an hour’s worth of nauseous quadrophonic guitar. At Hopscotch, he will offer the world premiere of “Hubble Lag,” a new piece in which he uses the Internet as an effects pedal. The Hubble telescope itself might be destined to disintegrate in space, but Ben Greenberg has somehow discovered intelligent life on Planet Shred. —Jesse Jarnow