BOOT & SADDLE

1131 S. Broad Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Grails

Grails

Wrekmeister Harmonies, Lilacs & Champagne

Sat, September 14, 2013

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

The Boot & Saddle

Philadelphia, PA

$10.00

This event is 21 and over

Grails
Grails
Rather than pick up where they left off, Grails take the sky-high riff-based heaviness of their earlier albums and distill it into a nuanced, widescreen opus. The perennial influences of mid-20th century Western film scores, obscure library music, and psychedelic krautrock are indelibly imprinted, but Chalice Hymnalexudes an eerie patience in unfurling the many layers of its subtle details. Produced by the band over the past five years, Chalice Hymnal bears some of the European psych and experimental hip-hop production techniques of founding members Alex Hall and Emil Amos’ other group, Lilacs & Champagne. Amos’ meditative metal band, Om, and longtime singer-songwriter project, Holy Sons, also naturally find their way into the Chalice cauldron. Rounding out their line-up, cofounder Zak Riles (also of experimental kraut-psych trio, Watter) layers synths and programming into an electronic-prog hybrid that pushes Grailsfurther into the deep end, displaying a profound resonance, both musically and emotionally. No one else sounds like Grails, and on Chalice Hymnal they sound more like themselves than ever before.
Wrekmeister Harmonies
Wrekmeister Harmonies
Chicago-based sound artist J.R. Robinson has been creating live, ambient tonefields in museums around the US and Europe over the past two years-including the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Pompidou Center in Paris, and The Art Center Berlin.

Robinson has injected these recordings into collaborations with some like-minded heavy hitters from the noise, post-rock and jazz worlds such as David Yow (Jesus Lizard/Scratch Acid), Mark Shippy & Pat Samson (US Maple), Azita Youssefi, John Herndon & Jeff Parker (Tortoise), Keefe Jackson, Fred Lonberg-Holm and Ken Vandermark. The result (dubbed Wrekmeister Harmonies), is a distinctive hybrid of sound art and avant-garde musics, evoking the essences & influences of masterworks like Joe McPhee's Nation Time, Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music and the sound collages of Stockhausen.
Lilacs & Champagne
Lilacs & Champagne, the project of Grails' Emil Amos and Alex Hall, is built on warped samples and scorched guitar solos, creating a playful, psychedelic take on damaged funk and pop. The duo's 2012 self-titled debut suggested a template for a new kind of psychotic mood music, and the follow up, Danish & Blue, manages to be both darker and more ambitious. "Lilacs & Champagne was created to be a direct tribute to the musical outsiders of the past" says Hall.

Made up of sounds sourced from Scandinavian porn and hyper-obscure b-movies from the late '60s, Danish & Blue pulls from records other DJs wouldn't touch by strategy. "We want to twist the knife as far as it can go into sample-based methodology, by taking pieces of loner music history and empowering them to shed light on both the pathetic side of human life and its improbable beauty." says Amos.

Mid-album cut "Hamburgers & Tangerines" is built on moody keys and a subterranean groove that recalls both sleazy cop movies and cathartic late night revelations. Danish & Blue is an album that is disinterested in boundaries, unafraid to pull from every genre imaginable in service of a specific mood: from a dark lounge slither, to frustrated down-tempo, to wailing proggy guitar rock. It feels at once like a deeply personal journey through cultural ephemera and neon-lit samples that are collaged together so seamlessly that they're able to walk the border between tasteful and tacky with abandon.

It's hard to pull off such a cohesive mood piece from found sources, but Amos and Hall are so clearly in love with the sampled material that it never feels anything but natural. Title track "Danish & Blue" is all digital chaos and hyper-compressed drums, with the duo creating machine funk from vintage synth samples and expertly placed streaks of guitar. It's knowing but visceral, tongue-in-cheek but dead serious about mining unexpected and disparate places for golden moments. On the too-brief "Sour/Sweet," the duo crafts low-key beauty from stuttered drums and a distant, looped vocal sample that slowly teases out over warm vinyl crackle and piano. You feel like it should last forever.
Venue Information:
The Boot & Saddle
1131 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19147
http://www.bootandsaddlephilly.com