Thor & Friends is the eponymous full length debut from the avant-chamber ensemble formed by polymath percussionist Thor Harris. It was recorded in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and produced by Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost from A Hawk & A Hacksaw and Deerhoof’s John Dieterich.
Recalls Terry Riley, Steve Reich, both Eno's... this is some hypnotising and truly out-of-body sh*t right here. Marimbas, mellotrons, and Thor hitting all sorts of stuff that we can't even decipher; this is honestly spectacular music making, explorative, pretty, swooning and quite emotional. Very highly recommended indeed.
The three core members of the band are Peggy Ghorbanion marimba, Sarah “Goat” Gautier on marimba, vibraphone,xylophone, organ, voice, mellotron and piano, and Harris on sundry percussion and wind instruments including some of his own devising. They are joined Jeremy Barnes on accordion, drum, and mellotron; Heather Trost on violin, voice & marimba; John Dieterich on guitar, bass, castanets and special effects; and Raven on bone flute, and electronic sounds.
The band was inaugurated after Harris toured for five years as the percussionist of iconic avant-rock ensemble Swans. As a vehicle for experimentation with American Minimalism with a rotating cast of Austin-based musicians, Harris draws on composers including Terry Riley and Steve Reich, but also such diverse influences as Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, Moondog and The Necks; the album centers around a polyrhythmic core of mallet-struck instruments-primarily marimba, xylophone and vibraphone. Circling these core motifs are shifting streams of everything from processed pedal steel and analog synthesizer to violin, viola, stand-up bass, clarinet, duduk and oboe. By rooting their art
in both improvisation and the involvement of neighbors and friends in their process, Thor & Friends embody utopian optimism, making use of what and whom is around at any given moment to make music with.
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