Northern in Olympia is gearing up for an evening of electrifying, avant music featuring Jaap Blonk, Daniel Higgs, Spires That In The Sunset Rise and Lori Goldston.
The all-ages show kicks off at 8 p.m. Oct. 23. Dutch born Jaap Blonk is a self-taught composer, performer and poet who uses his voice as an instrument of exploration. As a vocalist, Blonk is unique for his powerful stage presence and daring improvisation, combined with a keen grasp of structure. Blonk has toured throughout the world expanding the notion of what a voice "can do" pushing the boundaries of vocal music.
A former mathematics and musicology major, Blonk left school to pursue music. In the late 1970s, he took up saxophone and within a few years he discovered his potential as a vocal performer, at first in poetry recitals and later with improvisation and with his own compositions. For the last decade Blonk has evolved into an electronic performer, utilizing samples of his own voice and other natural sounds to complete his often-complex compositions.
Joining Blonk is the renowned Baltimore based musician Daniel Higgs. Higgs is known primarily for his work as the sole frontman of the band Lungfish, one of Washington D.C. based Dischord Records' longest lasting and artistically revered bands. Having released 11 albums in a 15-year span, Lungfish joined bands like Fugazi in solidifying the post-hardcore set of indie rock.
In recent years, Higgs has released a number of solo recordings that teeter between folk, rock, roots and even drone-laden mediations. Utilizing the electric guitar, upright pianos, banjo and jew's harp, Higgs' lo-fi recordings, paired with his own minimalist paintings, have created a mystique - quite unique and separate from Lungfish. While equally mesmerizing, there is an understated rustic feel to Higgs' solo work.
Paired quiet nicely with Higgs and Blonk is the Chicago (by way of Decatur, Ill.) psych-folk group Spires That In The Sunset Rise. Combining traditional acoustic instruments like cello, spike fiddle and banjo with electric elements and chants, the duo have forged a idiosyncratic - if not indefinable- sound for themselves despite comparisons with artists such as Current 93. Spires That In The Sunset Rise is the perfect blend of precise songwriting and unhinged improvisation.
Rounding out the bill, and by no means an opening act, is Goldston. Goldston, who probably cannot escape an article being written about her without mentioning her performance with Nirvana on their "Unplugged" engagement, is a Northwest luminary. From her involvement as a member of Earth, to her long stint with Black Cat Orchestra, to her most recent collaboration with Broken Water, Goldston has long been the gold (no pun intended) standard for inspiring cello music melded with indie rock aesthetics.
(Northern, 414 ½ Legion Way, Olympia; 8 p.m. Oct. 23; all-ages, price TBA)