Thursday 5 June 2014, 8pm
David Grubbs returns to OTO with his trio alongside two of Italy's finest: Andrea Belfi and Stefano Pilia - both, like Grubbs, well-versed in tearing the wall down between avant-garde praxis and rock energy. David Grubbs is one of the most influential musicians of his generation: a legacy that includes such bands as Squirrel Bait, Bastro and Gastr del Sol, numerous collaborative works and a string of LPs that present his idiosyncratic, immediately recognisable songs and arrangements. "It’s best to see tonight’s performance as the latest in a long line of high points from a songwriter-composer confirming his role as, amongst many other things, a standard-bearer for intelligent, uncompromising guitar music." - Thomas Blake, Folk Radio UK.
David Grubbs returns to OTO with his trio alongside two of Italy's finest: Andrea Belfi and Stefano Pilia - both, like Grubbs, well-versed in tearing the wall down between avant-garde praxis and rock energy. David Grubbs is one of the most influential musicians of his generation: a legacy that includes such bands as Squirrel Bait, Bastro and Gastr del Sol, numerous collaborative works and a string of LPs that present his idiosyncratic, immediately recognisable songs and arrangements.
"It’s best to see tonight’s performance as the latest in a long line of high points from a songwriter-composer confirming his role as, amongst many other things, a standard-bearer for intelligent, uncompromising guitar music." - Thomas Blake, Folk Radio UK(review of the trio's performance at OTO in June 2013)
David Grubbs is one of the most influential musicians of his generation: a legacy that includes such bands as Squirrel Bait, Bastro and Gastr del Sol. Moving eccentrically forward from the straight-ahead hardcore punk of Squirrel Bait (after all, he was a wizened eighteen years old when SB called it a day) David increasingly infused his songcraft with an experimental strain, culminating in the discography of Gastr del Sol, who drew widespread interest with the ways in which they combined so-called "songs" with experimental music. Participating in the reinvigorated Red Krayola during this time exposed David to the formative tutelage of Mayo Thompson as well. But after the gradually more streamlined Gastr period concluded with Camoufleur, David's output became more segregated; the albums of pop songs were more focusedly, more cussedly pop, and the more experimental projects (including duo recordings with Mats Gustafsson, Nikos Veliotis, and Loren Connors, not to mention the entire catalog of his Blue Chopsticks label) became more unrelenting.
"Dust & Mirrors combines tonal minimalist repetition with hanging cadences of back-porch guitar and Grubb's sung-spoken poetry. The Headlock reshapes a riff that could fill stadiums. The album is unashamedly beautiful, but never banal; fiercely intelligent, never obscure" - Stewart Lee, The Sunday Times, review of Dust & Mirrors
Flash forward to April 16th, 2013: Drag City releases the sixth and latest David Grubbs album of songs, The Plain Where the Palace Stood, which finds David once again twining together the diverse strands of his vast interests. As in the days of Gastr del Sol, songs float in idiosyncratic yet exceptionally unhurried arrangements. The Plain Where the Palace Stood features vocals on just four of the eleven tracks, yet the album as whole flows—breathes—effortlessly alongside the most critically acclaimed releases of his great catalog, not to mention his contemporaries and kindred artists - Oren Ambarchi, Scott Walker, Talk Talk, and Sunn O))).
This is a process begun on David's previous pop album, An Optimist Notes the Dusk, nearly four years previous. Despite the fluid activity of collaborations, many of which have been released in the time since (and several others coming to fruition this year), patience, meditation and time were required to afford the depth and detail to The Plain Where The Palace Stood. The effect is both striking and tangible; the glass partition which all too often separates genre-spanning rock and academic experimentation shatters under Grubbs’s langourously insistent, idiosyncratic, immediately recognizable songs and arrangements.
ANDREA BELFI / drums
Andrea Belfi (drums, electronics), has studied composition, improvisation and technical applications of electroacoustics. He performs with his electroacoustic solo performance with drums and electronics together, as well as in different collaborative projects. His collaborations extend to diverse musical fields, from electroacoustic experimentation with the trio with David Grubbs and Stefano Pilia and the duo Tangle with Attila Faravelli, to the rock trio "il sogno del marinaio" with the punk-rock legend Mike Watt and Pilia, to the avant-folk of Larkin Grimm, from the radical improvisation of the duo with Ignaz Schick to the audio/visual performance in Stillivingrooms. His work has been released on Chocolateguns, Hapna, Die Schachtel and ROOM40. He toured extensively along all Europe and U.S.(Chicago, New York, Paris, Berlin, Oslo, London, Brussels among others).
STEFANO PILIA / guitar
Bologna-based guitarist Stefano Pilia's solo work draws on his research into the sculputural dimensions of sound and it’s relations with space, memory and time suspension both through instrumental executional-experimental practices (mainly on guitar and dbass) and investigations into the recording and production process… He is one of the founder members of 3/4HadBeenEliminated, a group that synthesises improvisation, electro-acoustic composition and avant-rock sensibilties. Since 2008 he's been part of the Italian band Massimo Volume and since 2010 of In Zaire and has collaborated with Mike Watt (il sogno del marinaio), David Grubbs (bgp trio), David Tibet and ZU (zu93), Rokia Traorè and John Parish, Phill Niblock, Marina Rosenfeld, Andrea Belfi, Valerio Tricoli and Claudio Rocchetti (3/4HBE), Giuseppe Ielasi, and many more...
“Italian guitarist Stefano Pilia is a lyrical minimalist… His playing is poised, higly articulate and emotionally generous” Jon Dale / THE WIRE
David Grubbs is Professor of Music at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. At Brooklyn College he also teaches in the MFA programs in Performance and Interactive Media Arts (PIMA) and Creative Writing. He is the author of Records Ruin the Landscape: John Cage, the Sixties, and Sound Recording (Duke University Press), which appears in French, Italian, and Japanese translations.
Grubbs has released thirteen solo albums and appeared on more than 150 commercially- released recordings, the most recent of which is Prismrose (Blue Chopsticks, 2016). In 2000, his The Spectrum Between (Drag City) was named “Album of the Year” in the London Sunday Times. He is known for his cross-disciplinary collaborations with writers Susan Howe and Rick Moody, visual artists Anthony McCall, Angela Bulloch, and Stephen Prina, and choreographer Jonah Bokaer, and his work has been presented at, among other venues, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, MoMA, the Tate Modern, and the Centre Pompidou. Grubbs was a member of the groups Gastr del Sol, Bastro, and Squirrel Bait, and has performed with the Red Krayola, Will Oldham, Tony Conrad, Pauline Oliveros, and Loren Connors, and many others. He is a grant recipient from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, a contributing editor in music for BOMB Magazine, a member of the Blank Forms board of directors, and director of the Blue Chopsticks record label.
Andrea is a drummer and composer. He studied art in Milan before becoming involved in experimental music. He currently lives in Berlin and its projects include collaborations with Erik Skodvin, Stefano Pilia, Mike Watt, David Grubbs, BJNilsen, Simon James Phillips, Aidan Baker, Hobocombo.
”Natura Morta, "dead nature" or "still life". This album can be understood as a powerful study of the minute details of the art of electro-acoustic composition, as much as the Renaissance "nature morte" were a masterful display of the artist’s skill in portraying the glow of a ripe fruit, or capturing the light beaming on a vacant chair.
Six tracks, to be listened to as two long explorations in the art of variation and repetition. Layers of drums and percussions intertwine with synth waves making the portrait come to life, detail after detail, until a complex figure emerges from the white canvas. The constant, unsteady sounds, wavering noise, swirling cymbals, and distant feedback gently pull the listener into the picture, letting them enjoy every detail of this beautifully staged compositions.
Recorded at EMS studio, Stockholm, ZKM in Karlsruhe and at the legendary Funkhaus in Berlin, this album mixes influences from both Italian minimalism and the electro-acoustic contemporary scene. Somewhere in between the electronics of Keith Fullerton Whitman, the percussive repetitions of Jon Mueller, and the atmospheric sensibility of Pan-American.”
Stefano Pilia is a guitar player and electroacustic composer, founder member with Valerio Tricoli and Claudio Rocchetti of the 3/4HadBeenEliminated group, a synthethis between improvisation, electro-acoustic composition and avant-rock sensibilities.
he is also part of the psychedelic rock band In Zaire, of the BGP trio with David Grubbs and Andrea Belfi, of il Sogno del Marinaio with Mike Watt and Paolo Mongardi, guitar player for the malian star Rokia Traorè and the italian rock band Afterhours.
(collaborations among artists and musicians such as David Tibet, ZU, John Parish, Marina Rosenfeld, Giuseppe Ielasi, Oren Ambarchi, Manuel Mota, David Maranha...
solo and group recordings on several labels like Hapna, Die Schachtel, Soleilmoon, Bluechopsticks/Drag City, Sound of Cobra, Sedimental, Lastvisibledog...) .