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Thor & Friends
Thor & Friends
LM Dupli-cation / Border Music

The avant-chamber ensemble Thor & Friends are Thor Harris, Peggy Ghorbani and Sarah 'Goat' Gautier. The trio - three percussive heads, or actually, a six-armed percussion ensemble - formed last year and with this, their self-titled debut full length they explore the highly experimental, percussive American minimalism. Drummer/percussionist Thor Harris has a long CV counting Swans (he has been 'a swan' since Gira reformed the band in 2010), Shearwater, Angels of Light, Bill Callahan/Smog, Ben Frost, Devendra Banhart, plus others. Harris (who is also an instrument carpenter) started this unit as 'a vehicle to experiment with a cast of rotating Austin based musicians.' Harris (percussion and wind instruments), Gautier (marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, organ, voice, mellotron and piano) and Ghorbani (marimba) are the core members, but the band has got a fluctuating number of members. Well, the music is highly experimental but presents a collection of nifty melodies throughout an exciting, peaceful and meditative album.

Thor & Friends holds nine tracks, which are both indeed exotic as well as down to earth, relaxed. The opening "White Sands" starts as gentle waves of marimbas, xylophones, vibraphones plus wind. "Whose Fingers" keeps the pleasant and pleasing mood, lifting the music slowly from the ground. Thor & Friends make their instruments create sounds that circle and spin as they hover and float in mid-air. The sound is fantastic and listening to these songs is a nice, perfect relaxation. Rest and enjoy yourself. Make your mind wander, and let your mind and body chill. Loosen up to the elegant and vivid "Crusades" or to "Jordan's Song". "Lullaby For Klaus" is a somewhat darker tune, which makes me wonder if this is a lullaby for the dark soul of Klaus Kinski...? Well, it could also be the German electronic music composer/musician Klaus Schulze (ex-Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel). Alternatively, some completely different Klaus. Anyway, Thor & Friends draws from minimalists such as Terry Riley and Steve Reich, as well as from (according to their Facebook site) Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, Moondog (a.k.a. Louis Thomas Hardin), and Australian experimental, jazz trio The Necks. Via "Medieval" and "Thirsty Camel" Thor & Friends drift off on their mission for peaceful music of the hypnotic and very relaxed kind. Their tunes swirl, whirl, spin and flow in a slow, pleasant way, leaving Thor & Friends as a sound document of elegance and grace.

Thor & Friends was recorded with Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost (both of A Hawk & A Hacksaw) and John Dieterich (of Deerhoof) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is released on Barnes and Trost's LM (Living Music) Dupli-cation label. While you're at it you'd better check out the Barnes and Dietrich collaboration The Coral Casino which was released back in May.

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