Brian Eno's Music for Airports unfurls slooowly, the way the neon-lit motorized walkway at Chicago's O'Hare Airport does after a red-eye flight on Vicodin. Back in 1978, Eno created the walkway's ethereal, otherworldly background music with synthesizer and overlapping tape loops, providing a spacey respite in the disco era, and incidentally laying the groundwork for the ambient and New Age music movements.
Twenty years later, maverick ensemble Bang on a Can All-Stars, a group of Yalie musicians who came together for a Manhattan music marathon and evolved into a touring new-music collective, took up the tricky task of transcribing Eno's electronic opus into acoustic chamber music. Theirs is a more international Airports, in which mallet percussion and Chinese pipa ripple suddenly over the ebb and flow of reeds, strings, piano, horns, and voice.
BOACA will perform Eno's work and others in two different programs for the "Other Minds" series: On the first night they'll add Michael Gordon's world music and technology fusion piece Trance IV, and The Schmetterling, by local composer Pamela Z. Program 2 includes Evan Ziporyn's Tsmindao Ghmerto, inspired by a religious work written for a Georgian men's choir, and Julia Wolfe's Believing, which springs from the Beatles canon. The show is at 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 701 Mission (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is $22-26; call 978-ARTS.
-- Heather Wisner