Thor & Friends, Norman Westberg (of Swans) @ Flycatcher

The Rialto Theatre Presents

Thor & Friends, Norman Westberg (of Swans) @ Flycatcher

Apr 02 Mon

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

The Flycatcher

This event is 21 and over

Thor & Friends
Thor & Friends
Polymath percussionist Thor Harris inaugurated "Thor & Friends" in the autumn of 2015 after five years of touring as the percussionist of iconic avant-rock ensemble Swans. The project was intended as a vehicle for experimentation with the conceptual vocabulary of American Minimalism collaborating with a rotating cast of Austin-based musicians.

A crafter of musical instruments and stylistic polyglot Harris is returning home with Thor & Friends and the resultant music is an elongated greeting and ode to his community, woodworking shop and the instruments his hands shape and bring to life.

The ensemble has three core members, Thor, Peggy Ghorbani and Sarah "Goat" Gautier, with its line-up expanding and contracting with the flux of compositional and improvisational contexts. The range of tonal color depends on what instrumentalists are present or absent from the process at any given time. They can perform purely acoustic or shaded with hues of electronic instrumentation, as a stripped-down trio or a large ensemble.

Thor & Friends draws on the classic Minimalist composers including Terry Riley and Steve Reich, but also amalgamate such diverse influences as Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, Moondog and The Necks 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.
Norman Westberg (of Swans)
Norman Westberg (of Swans)
In 2015, Room40 is proud to announce the release of a series of works from American guitarist and composer Norman Westberg.

Best known for his work with the seminal outfit SWANS, Westberg’s output beyond that group is sprawling and restless. His name recurs and ripples through many interconnected micro-histories surrounding New York City’s music and art scenes. From appearances in film works associated with the Cinema Of Transgression, through to his participation in bands such as The Heroine Sheiks and Five Dollar Priest, Westberg’s name is woven deeply into the fabric of New York over the past three decades.
His debut release with Room40 is 13. Originally recorded in 2013, Thirteen has previously only been available in an ultra-limited hand made edition of just 75 copies.

The Room40 edition of 13 has been completely re-mastered and edited and is available for the first time digitally, as well as in an elegant physical edition.

A note from Lawrence English:
“Norman Westberg’s guitar playing with SWANS has influenced a generation of musicians across genres. I can personally attest to how his particular approaches to that instrument, in creating both harmony and brute force, have challenged and ultimately influenced my own sonic preoccupations.

What Norman has created with his solo works is an echoing universe of deep texture and harmonic intensity. His solo compositions generate an affecting quality that drives the listener towards reductive transcendence.

His guitar, as singular source, becomes transformed through a web of outboard processes. He transforms vibrating strings completely, taking singular gesture and reshapes it through webs of delay, reverb and other treatments. To me, these works echo many of the concerns of American minimalism and sprawl towards the work of bands such as Stars Of The Lid. Norman has created a very dense and powerful statement of intent with these recordings and I couldn’t be more pleased to have some small part in helping to share them.”
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