Experimental: Meet the 2013 RFT Music Award Nominees
The 2013 Riverfront Times Music Showcase is this weekend! Think of it as St. Louis music's own official holiday and consider this the season. Throughout May we at RFT Music have been working hard to make our cases for all 130 bands and artists nominated for an RFT Music Award this year in 26 categories. Read on and get yourself acquainted, and we'll see you at the showcase (check out this post for the full schedule)!
Britches crams atonal sound into neat rhythmic boxes. Guitarist Marty Reutter belts like a twisted choir boy through processed vocals. Bryant Hoban's nasty waves of bass build under Andrew Carter's subtle but heavy percussion. Carter's beats take on minimalist melody through low toms and sharp snares. This power trio rips like a broken keyboard, smelling of burnt circuits. The whole affair repeats in zen-like fashion, breaking only to build in variations. Ever the schizophrenics, Britches break the occasional set with long squalls of static and hum. Reutter's moaning throat cuts through rumbling strings, and off-mic screams stab deep with sporadic bursts.
Darin Gray presently operates in the realms of free improvisation, jazz, noise and so on. Watching the bassist in person is a reminder of Gray's hardcore punk roots as a member of abrasive proto-math rock band The Dazzling Killmen. He is a frighteningly cathartic performer, feeding off the energy of his collaborators and pushing his own abilities to violent extremes. Gray is an expert of prepared bass, the practice of conjuring textures from his instrument using cymbals, sticks, trumpet mouthpieces and any other device that makes sound. Often, his techniques are multi-faceted, with a single action causing a cacophony of sympathetic vibrations like an instrument designed by Rube Goldberg in collaboration with Dr. Seuss. At these times, the scariest aspect of Darin Gray's performance is the thought of what other sonic possibilities are lurking through his skull.
You could probably fill your iPod with nothing but solo releases from Eric Hall and still run out of room before you got to his collaborative work with other musicians. Last year he was put in charge of curating a massive installment of musical pairings at Laumeier Sculpture Park - and he actually pulled it off. That alone demands attention, but it wasn't enough for Eric Hall. He is constantly working on his craft - not so much for the fans as for his own sanity. It is pure, and it is good, but Hall's fans already know that. This is brilliant music for eager ears.