Old Light consistently defies even the cliche of a "band that defies description," willfully pushing themselves into new musical territory whenever and however they can. As at home on stage as they are at home, Old Light bring strong songwriting and a kick-ass live experience to every audience they encounter.
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The band first came to Pickathon in 2011, on the heels of their debut album "The Dirty Future," which paired close-harmony singing and strummed Autoharp with double drumming, distorted sonic excursions. At times as brutal as they are refined,Old Light strive to make music inspired directly by their own lives.
In June 2012, Old Light went from being a band of five musicians to four. Rather than attempt to replace the irreplaceable Charlie Hester, the band decided to focus instead on drawing out the musical potentialof each of the remaining members. Drummer Scott DeMay expanded his role to include keyboards and guitar. Bassist Patrick Finn and drummer Todd Roper both stepped up to sing vocals, with Todd now singing lead on many songs. Guitarist and frontman Garth Klippert laid down his Autoharp, stood up from his folding chair, and dove deep into the Garage, Heavy Metal, and Krautrock that have long-influenced his guitar work.
The band quickly found itself winning over new audiences. At Music Fest in 2010, Old Light opened for Black Prairie-in 2012, they opened for Black Mountain. The live show now showcased the band's skill at re interpreting their own material in fresh, often aggressive ways. Old Light's deliberate shedding (and shredding) of its listener friendly "Americana" genre-classification was particularly entertaining. Having side-stepped the pitfalls that might ruin a less-seasoned group of players, Old Light instead built a juggernaut of powerful original music, solidifying their own unmistakable sound along the way.
Their current task is the completion of VARIATIONS, a series of 5 full-length albums to be released on cassette in 2013. The first, titled "NO," was recorded, manufactured, released, and sold at a show in less than one week, between the 18th and 25th of January this year. As of this writing (February 13th), the band is headed back to the studio within days to record the second, this time with esteemed producer and engineer Mike Coykendall at the helm.
To accomplish this ambitious undertaking, Old Light joined forces with Portland cassette label Curly Cassettes. The band realized that cassettes are an ideal format for this project because their affordability and simplicity make it easy to capture the creative process quickly, without running into the logistical hassles and expense of more hi-fi methods. More importantly, cassettes allow the listener to experience a direct analog connection with the band-there are no computers in the signal path between Old Light, their Tascam 388 tape machine, cassette mastering deck, duplicating machines, and your cassette deck at home. The electrons "living" on the cassette are literally at the end of the same analog path that begins at the microphones.
Within the technical constraints of the project, the band also chose to experiment artistically with the concept of variation. Historically, most forms of music have allowed for the notion that music is inherently variant, never the same-whether it be classical composers re-interpreting each other's work, jazz musicians improvising over standards, or generations of descendants performing their sacred music.
However, beginning in the early 20th century, popular music became increasingly available as recorded media. As a result, the more popular an artist's music became, the more their loyal audience expected the songs to be performed exactly as they sounded on the recording. Over time, this phenomenon contributed to a systematic asphyxiation of creativity in popular music, and, sadly, contributed to the obscurity and ultimate misery of many talented and deeply intelligent people...not the healthiest cultural tradition, to be sure.
Old Light is a group of four dudes who have played a lot of different music in their lives-as sidemen, frontmen, songwriters, hired guns, artists, and craftsmen. Out of respect for those who've come before them, and as a challenge to themselves, Old Light is re-interpreting their own work over the course of these 5 cassettes. Each subsequent release includes a variation on one song from the previous release. Contained in this musical exercise is also a tacit statement: none of us can own music any more than we can own the fleeting moments of our lives. When music is here, it's here, and when it's over, it's gone forever. Songs that are strong will always be sung, and songs that come and go will come and go, drifting back and forth, again and again, between our world and the one from which they came.
VIDEO Old Light - Empty Head
Old Light's new tape is called NO
Old Light's new tape is called NO
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