The Wire teamed up with Chicago’s Empty Bottle to bring us Adventures in Modern Music, a 5-day festival showcasing an experimental and diverse lineup of musicians and bands from all over the world. On this night alone, local musicians gathered with those from Oregon, France, and Brazil for an incredible night that would not have been possible if not for The Wire. (The Wire is a great UK-based magazine for experimental and outer limits independent music. It's a bit expensive, but is worth the cost as it comes with a nice CD sampler of the bands it covers.)
Spires that in the Sunset Rise I agree with the way that the Spires describe themselves:
...the music is a repellant and magnetizing swarm of harps, guitars, cello, drums, harmonium, banjo, mbira, spike fiddle, bells, and vocals.
Although technically a four piece, they perfromed as a three piece, though their sound was still quite rich and full. I shouldn’t be too surprised music like this is coming out of Chicago. We do have a significant art scene here and this is definitely music created for and by artists with such emotional eccentricity that you feel literally like you’re being haunted by the sounds. The cello was especially beautiful and there were times when the vocals were like half angelic pained cries. At one point, the chilling sound of a scraping pen writing along the edge of an instrument caused shivers to creep up one’s spine. This small orchestra might be speaking for the actual Earth at times. It definitely serves as a rebuttal for all those who think nothing original is being created anymore. These aren’t anything close to pop songs but are nonetheless rewarding if embraced by the eccentric in all of us.
Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Yellow Swans is a two piece experimental band who seemed like they were going to put on a deafening set of noise until they submerged themselves into a more melodic form focusing on a less assaulting repetition between the guitar, pedal effects, and noise generator. Hear their songs by visiting them on myspace
Colleen is actually Cécile Schott, a French artist who plays beautifully lush instrumentals by looping guitar, cello, and clarinet then fills the remaining air with the sound of wind chimes. She was just lovely while the music inspired a touching sort of emotion in me ala Clint Mansell’s soundtrack work on Requiem for a Dream, only not as dark. It’s very magical both in the live setting and on her two fantastic full length albums: Everyone Alive Wants Answers and The Golden Morning Breaks.
I didn’t quite know what to expect from Brazil’s Tetine (pictured above). Eliete Mejorado came out clad in a bright golden metallic one piece bodysuit complete with a horse’s tail attached to her. Bruno Verner’s dress was much more modest in contrast but he was just as passionate while singing. They both sang and the songs were very keyboard dependent as well. They were captivating, raunchy, and created very danceable music which, even though the lyrics weren’t sung in English, was pretty easy to guess at subject matter wise. If you like CSS, check out Tetine.
More coverage of the festival to come...check out the complete photoset here