After five years of touring as the percussionist of The Swans, Thor Harris began Thor & Friends in the autumn of 2015 as a vehicle to experiment with a cast of rotating Austin based musicians in the vein of American minimalism. As an instrument carpenter and acoustic polyglot, Thor & Friends is the sound of Harris' return home -- an elongated greeting and ode to his community, woodworking shop and the instruments his hands bring texture too.
With the three core members of Harris, Peggy Ghorbani and Sarah "Goat" Gautier, the expanding and contracting ensemble works within the flux of compositional and improvisational contexts, where the range of tonal color depends on what instrumentalists are joining or absent from the process. They can perform acoustically or with hues of electronic instrumentation, as a stripped down trio or a large ensemble. In addition to drawing on minimalist composers such as Terry Riley and Steve Reich, Thor & Friends amalgamate the diverse influences of Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, Moondog and The Necks through a polyrhythmic center of mallet instruments, primarily marimba, xylophone and vibraphone. Around the core motifs of the aforementioned mallet timbres are shifting streams of everything from processed pedal steel and analog synthesizer to violin, viola, stand up bass, clarinet, duduk and oboe.
The group builds off of the similarities and contrasts of Harris' past projects and continuing collaborations, which include The Swans, Ben Frost, Bill Callahan, Hospital Ships, Shearwater and John Congelton. The result ushers in a utopian optimism contemporized through 20th century predecessors via the promise of improvising with neighbors and friends and utilizing what and who is around at any given moment.
Thor & Friends debut LP will be out on LM Dupli-cation in autumn 2016 -- recorded with A Hawk & A Hacksaw's Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost and Deerhoof's John Dieterich in Albuquerque, New Mexico -- at which point the transcendent live performance that's drifted across Central Texas over the last year will continue its crescendo across North America and Europe.
Volcanic Pinnacles is a Portland duo that creates dense clouds of ambient, melodic, and grooving sound. Drawing inspiration from the likes of spiritual jazz as well as avant-garde and post rock pioneers, the duo bridges the gap between free jazz, post rock, psychedelic rock, and world rhythms. Saxophone player Tony Mowe utilizes electronics to push his instrument into innovative territory, creating a deep droning wave of melody, while drummer Mark Musselman sculpts the sound into shifting polyrhythmic layers.
Since forming in the Fall of 2012, the group has recorded 2 EPs and played many high profile shows, including the Creative Music Guild's Outset Series, the Northwest Post-Rock Collective Showcase, Seattle's Debacle Fest, St Johns NoFest, the EYRST Halloween Party, the CD Baby Presents: We Are Indie Showcase and more.
The duo completed its first tour in spring of 2015, performing at cities and towns throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, and California.
Volcanic Pinnacles released their second EP, Incandescent, on October 15th 2016. In 2017, the band reached a new audience when their track "Fanfare To The Outer Spheres" was sampled by the explosive Portland rapper The Last Artful, Dodgr for her track "Jazz Crimes."
The group was featured on the 2017 edition of the highly regarded PDX Pop Now compilation, which showcases the best new artists in Portland. Also in 2017, the band was included on the Voodoo Doughnut Recordings compilation, 'Portland Cream Vol. 1.'
Picked by Tegan and Sara as a pop vote winner for her remix of I Was A Fool, Juila is currently working on her solo album Lies Truths and Unknowns