When he’s not slinging his six-string around the world with Wilco, guitarist Nels Cline can often be found participating in one or more avant-garde music projects. The latest is a rare collaboration with Detroit/NYC drummer Gerald Cleaver and and San Francisco saxophonist Larry Ochs, which will perform for two nights at Johnny Brenda’s in December.
Resident experimental guitarist Nick Millevoi is back at it with Desertion, a record he released late last month. The six-track album marks Millevoi’s first solo effort since 2014’s Numbers on the Side, but don’t let that fool you – he’s been plenty busy. The last several months have been spent with Chris Forsyth’s Solar Motel band, which returned home from a tour just in time for Millevoi to head out with his own trio in support of Desertion this week.
Circling back to his solo work after releasing recordings with satellite projects Many Arms and the Ricart / Millevoi Quartet, local guitarist Nick Millevoi will release Numbers on the Side this month at the Pageant: Soloveev Gallery.
Spanning three tracks of dramatically different lengths and textures (the first stretches its legs to 21:30), Numbers on the Side is equal parts instrumental experimentation and environmental experimentation. Millevoi brought in fellow Philadelphian Eric Carbonara to record the effort at The Rotunda in West Philadelphia, utilizing “the 103-year-old building’s high ceilings and 80-ft dome to help create the sonic space for this intense music.”
As each chord ricochets and delays off of The Rotunda’s walls, Millevoi warps and bends the noises into sounds that barely resemble a guitar. On “‘Where is the Crime?'” he creates what seems like a live-action car chase, complete with revving engines and sharp turns before it flatlines and the chase comes to an end.
It’s hard to imagine that all of the screeches, fuzz and layers come from one guy, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Millevoi it’s that he is always one step ahead in the world avant-garde guitar experimentation. Stream Numbers on the Side below and get more information about the release show on April 26th here.
Philly experimental guitarist Nick Millevoi has been branching out from his drone-based solo work and contributions to expressive thrash-y trio Many Arms and into the free jazz realm with the new Ricart / Millevoi Quartet. The group recently released the Haitian Rail LP (Gaffer Records on LP / New Atlantis Records on tape), and played Ortlieb’s Lounge two Saturdays ago in celebration of it. The 45-minute set was filmed in high contrast black and white, and turned up YouTube this week; check it out below.
Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! is embarking on a short acoustic solo tour, and she’ll be stopping by Milkboy tonight to play some new material. Against Me! is releasing their new record, Transgender Dysphoria Blues sometime this year, which explores a lot of the struggles Grace (formerly Tom Gabel) went through as a transgender woman. To preview the album, Grace will be making the True Trans 7″ available on tour. Check out a performance of the new track “True Trans Soul Rebel” below.
Japanese Guy perform at PhilaMOCA tonight. The less-talked about side project of a Fleet Foxes member, Japanese Guy is the experimental / noise endeavor of Skyler Skjelset with Andrew J.S. and Chris Icasiano. The trio released their self-titled debut in January of this year after recording the 8 song album in northwestern Washington last spring. They’ll be joined by the local avant-garde / experimental projects of Nick Millevoi and Air is Human; tickets and information can be found here. Below, watch Japanese Guy perorm “Glass Cave” and an untitled track live.
Philly noise / experimental trio Many Arms played a set at New York City’s The Stone a few weeks ago, conveniently recording their mind-boggling excursions into free-form jazz for further exploration. This is convenient because Many Arms’ recordings warrant and require multiple experiences; as Beats Per Minute points out, the structures, themes and essence of the trio’s music don’t lend themselves to instantaneous attachment.
But it’s worth the effort. When guitarist Nick Millevoi goes at it solo, as he will next Thursday at The Khyber, his twelve string guitar pieces land in a place equally as foreign but perhaps a bit more accessible with ebbs and flows into chaotic feedback and restrained melodies. More information for the 21+ show with Spelling Bee, Heavy Medical and Drums Like Machine Guns can be found here. Below, stream Many Arms’ “Surface of Last Scattering” and watch a video of Nick Millevoi performing at the First Unitarian Church from 2011.
For The Key’s year-in-review, we asked our trusted sources – our writers and photographers, XPN’s on-air staff, fellow bloggers in the Philly scene and even a few musicians – to send us their Top Five Whatevers. Could be the traditional music route – albums, songs, concerts of the year – or it could be only loosely connected. We’ll be sharing these recaps every day through to the end of the year. Today, contributing writer Elliott Sharp shares his top five local albums to listen to loudly with headphones.
1. Bee Mask – When We Were Eating Unripe Pears (Spectrum Spools)
The experimental electronic musician Chris Madak stretches sounds so far your ears will rip, and bleed, and it feels delicious, like an unripe pear.