In an attempt to depart from tradition, Alex's Hand is more of an ongoing musical process than a rock band. Fusing genres into palpable movements that span the space between chaos and beauty is only a fraction of what one will experience at one of the Hand's performance spectacles. Acting more as an avant-punk theater circus than anything else, Alex's Hand is relentlessly pushing their artistic limits as musicians, performers and engineers. While they are students of the experiment, they are able to maintain a refined cohesion within their wacky ambitions and deliver a complex musical package. Having been described as; "Spiky punk funk" (The Stranger), "Equally unsettling and groovy, prime evidence for Alex's Hand's penchant for avant-pop experimentation."(http://seattle.thedelimagazine.com/), and "the soundtrack to your fucked up drug trip." Seattle Weekly) "...pure Holloween", "...prehistoric zombie jazz", "they don’t just bring weird to the table — they slap it down on top, like an over sized pair of dirty boots, and then stare you out until you say something about it." (Misfit City, UK)
Since moving to Seattle in 1995, Bill Horist has established himself as a noted improviser/composer/performer. In the past decade, he has appeared on over 40 recordings and has performed almost 700 concerts in Canada, Mexico, Europe, Japan and throughout the US. Bill has performed and/or recorded with Bill Frisell, Wayne Horvitz, KK Null, Trey Gunn(King Crimson), Chris Cutler, Kawabata Makoto (Acid Mothers Temple), William Hooker, Trey Spruance (Mr Bungle/Secret Chiefs 3), Eugene Chadbourne, Tatsuya Yoshida (Ruins), Amy Denio, Uchihashi Kazuhisa, Steve Fisk, Anla Courtis (Reynols), Lesli Dalaba, Paul Hoskin, Thomas Dimuzio, Wally Shoup, Jessica Lurie, Mason Jones, Jeff Grienke, and Tucker Martine as well as members of Earth, The Boredoms and Larsen among others.
As a solo artist, Bill's improvised, prepared guitar work is informed by Hans Reichel, Fred Frith, and Henry Kaiser, but shows a unique style and personality. He has received critical praise internationally from periodicals including The Wire and Alternative Press, and several of his recordings have made critics' year-end lists. Bill was featured in the March 2007 issues of Guitar Player Magazine and Earshot Jazz Magazine. In 2005 and 2006, he was nominated for "Jazz Artist of the Year" (despite his total inability to play jazz!) and "Guitarist of the Year" respectively by the Seattle Weekly. He was the recipient of the 2006 GAP grant, 2005 Artist Trust Fellowship, the 1997 Jack Straw Artist Assistance Program Grant and has done several presentations and workshops at schools from first grade to college-level, including the University of Calgary, Seattle Art Institute, Martin Luther King Elementary (Seattle), the Experience Music Project and Big Picture School for at-risk youth.
With haunting vocals and penetrating lyrics set against an angular sonic backdrop, Bone Cave Ballet envelops the listener in a musical tide of turbulent, eruptive waters into which an author would write sharks.
The Seattle band began as a reconnection between ex-band mates, when vocalist/guitarist Jacqui Gilroy and fellow Detroit transplant drummer Kelly Mynes decided to rekindle their musical flame. The progressive and emotionally potent song structures are written by Gilroy, and are fleshed out by Mynes, bassist Ezekiel Lords, and guitarist Jeff Blancato to create a sound that fans say they've never heard before.
BCB recorded in 2009 at Bear Creek studios in Woodinville, WA, and put out their first official release, The Echo of Entropy. Since touring the West Coast with this release in 2009-2012, and frequent gigging in Seattle, they've been writing for their upcoming release, expected in early 2013.
Dissonati is a Seattle-based prog-rock band, favoring the darker side of the genre, more Van Der Graaf Generator than Genesis, but really only like Dissonati. They released their debut CD, Reductio ad Absurdum, in 2012 to warm reviews in the progressive rock community.
Jolanda — keyboard, voice, musical box, toy piano, kalimba, typewriter
Demian Endian — guitar, percussion
"Arcane, full of energy, beyond styles...": so the music of Jolanda has been defined, "... when she plays, it looks like she's conducting a little imaginary orchestra between her fingers and her voice". Jolanda's songs tell about inner landscapes, restless astronauts, mirror reflexes, faceless children, shadows, memories in a parade, nightmares and ghosts. On stage, always a few steps from Jolanda, is Demian Endian (guitar, arranger). Jolanda plays musical box, toy piano, kalimba and typewriter as well.
miRthkon is an amplified chamber ensemble masquerading as a rock band. This illusion is well maintained by the fact that from time to time they do, indeed, rock. Consisting of a core rock instrumentation of two guitars, bass, and drums, their unique sound is enhanced by the inclusion of two adept woodwind players covering a wide array of instruments including piccolo, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones. Maintaining a passionate aesthetic stance that they are (quite happily) 'beneath everything,' their music — whether evoking the direct or indirect influence of progressive rock, contemporary classical abstraction, avant-garde jazz, catchy hook-laden pop, or thrash metal — is held to a simple but firm standard: Does it sound good?
"Monkey" and "Bat" are two unrelated species that would not naturally be found inhabiting the same body. In the same way, the band Monkey Bat combines acoustic and electric, intense and beautiful, complex and simple into a kind of music that is all their own. With their first album, Springtime Love, in the can and expected to be released in the spring of 2013, they're already at work on their second album.
Moraine is an omnivorous Seattle-based instrumental quintet led by guitarist Dennis Rea and featuring violinist Alicia DeJoie, woodwind player James DeJoie, bassist Kevin Millard, and drummer Tom Zgonc. With its several writers and full complement of ace instrumentalists arrayed in striking combination, Moraine has built a reputation as one of the most electrifying and original instrumental rock bands anywhere, winning over listeners around the globe with its unique amalgam of art rock, forward-thinking jazz, world music, and more. Moraine has been enthusiastically received by audiences ranging from jazz aficionados to metalheads to partisans of progressive rock and has appeared alongside such renowned artists as Three Friends (Gentle Giant), Steve Hackett, Eddie Jobson, and Richard Pinhas. The band's 2009 release on NYC-based MoonJune Records, manifest deNsity, garnered more than 100 enthusiastic reviews worldwide, and its set at NEARfest 2010, the world's preeminent showcase for progressive rock, was considered by many to be a highlight of the festival. Moraine created a buzz on its spring 2011 tour of major East Coast cities and in late 2011 released its second CD, Metamorphic Rock: Live at NEARfest, co-produced and mixed by legendary Pacific Northwest producer Steve Fisk.
Operation ID has been variedly called anything from "jazz" to "progressive rock" to "man rock" to "thought-rock" to the self-christened "bionic synth-pop." What began as duets between members Ivan Arteaga (saxophone/clarinet) and Jared Borkowski (guitar) in a University of Washington basement quickly expanded to include Evan Woodle on drums and David Balatero on bass, playing improvisation-heavy, free jazz-influenced compositions. Rob Hanlon soon joined on keyboards. With their current lineup complete, Operation ID oriented themselves toward a more through-composed musical landscape, transitioning from a purely instrumental outfit into one that more and more incorporates solo and group vocals by all five members of the band. Their first album, Legs, released on Table & Chairs, reflects the changes that have occurred throughout the entirety of Operation ID's first two years of existence. The album more than hints at the band's current direction. As Operation ID continues to compose and rehearse new music to play in their frequent Seattle-area shows, their fanbase and music horizons both continue to grow.
Thinking Plague explores the frontiers where rock, folk, jazz and modern symphonic music meet. Through these explorations, the band has created "a genre of music unto itself, eclectically derivative in a bold way and spectacularly innovative in the old-fashioned sense of genuine originality" (Andy Watson - Journal Wired Summer/Fall 1990). Founded in 1982 by guitarist and composer Mike Johnson, and bassist, drummer and producer Bob Drake, the band has undergone numerous personnel changes, while members have performed with some of the leading avant-progressive artists in the world, including Présent, 5UUs, the Science Group, Hamster Theatre, Hughscore, Caveman Shoestore, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Peter Blegvad, Amy Denio, Janet Feder, Underground Railroad, Claudia Quintet, and others. Thinking Plague has released eight albums, including a live CD and a re-mastered re-release of their first two LPs on one CD, as well as contributions to various compilations. They were featured in the recent documentary Romantic Warriors II: Rock in Opposition, and they have performed at various major avant-progressive festivals in North America and Europe, including Rock In Opposition (France 2012), Gouveia Art Rock (Portugal 2008), MIMI (France 2000), NEARFest (USA 2000), ProgDay (USA, 1999) and others. Legendary Henry Cow drummer Chris Cutler said of Thinking Plague: "Every now and then a landmark group emerges. Thinking Plague in my opinion belongs in that category. Being an interesting group isn't a matter of learning to imitate some favourite bands' style, it's having an original musical vision and the skills to bring it into being; it's breaking new ground. That's why Thinking Plague qualifies in my book."
Tone Dogs began in 1987 as a studio experiment between musical alchemists Fred Chalenor and Amy Denio, under the creative technological guidance of audio engineer Drew Canulette at Dog Fish Studio up in the hills above Newburg, OR. Fresh pie was served, Fred and Amy played their basses and guitars and drums and whatnot, and luminary guests (Frith/Reichel/von Drehle/Bain) were invited to contribute. They recorded Ankety Low Day (orig. C/Z Records, Matt Cameron on drums) and Early Middle Years (orig. Soleilmoon, Will Dowd on drums), and toured the US and Europe through 1991. Now Fred and Amy are back, playing some golden oldies and venturing as always into uncharted territory, on basses, guitars and other whatnots.
Trimtab formed in 2001 in Minneapolis, MN under the concept of Jason Goessl, who, inspired by the work and philosophy of R. Buckminster Fuller, realized a link between Fuller's architecture and musical form and meter. The original band was comprised of Jim Anton on bass, Tim Glenn on drums, and Goessl on guitar. Their first full length album The Car, the House, and the Map was released in 2008 (Conduit Records).
With Goessl's move west to Seattle, WA, the second and current incarnation of Trimtab features Phil Cali on bass and Brian Oppel on drums. Trimtab's latest compilation New Model is slated for release later in 2013 (Parlour Trick).
The music of Trimtab is difficult to sum up in a simple phrase or genre. The band's compositions are sonic portmanteaus that meld philosophical and architectural concepts with classical, jazz, Eastern Indian, African, and rock music styles. The unpredictability and complexity of their compositions is magnetic, generating a seemingly new listening experience with each performance. Varied meters create hypnotic tensions. Abrasive chordal and percussive expression mixed with gentler melodies and intense dynamic changes creates a unique gravitational pull. Whether listening to the arc of a Trimtab album or just a single composition, a development from compression, to tension, to visual, to abstract, to the electrical is evidenced.
Goessl, Cali, and Oppel sustain a synergy that reveals an exhibition
of melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic transformation. Refreshingly,
the unexpected is the only thing the listener can expect from Trimtab.
Although Zhongyu, the band, is relatively new to the world, its seeds stretch back several decades. It started as a recording project for the compositions of Jon Davis, which defy categorization by combining qualities of progressive rock, jazz, space rock, chamber music, and Asian traditional music. These compositions are the result of years of listening to challenging music, and strive to present balance: between complexity and simplicity, noise and silence, beauty and terror, energy and calm.
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