Sunday, November 2, 2014

Run Downhill's Spurs #1

Run Downhill recently released Spurs #1, which is both an album and comic book. Both elements stand alone perfectly well, but can combine to tell a story. On top of that, there are videos for each songs, as well as Aurasma auras within the comic book.

The group is led by TJ Troy, who is a diverse musician I've heard in widely disparate musical contexts. With musicians of skill sets that are both deep and broad, it is interesting to see what form their own artistic self expression takes.

For their album release show at Curve Line Space on Sept. 4, Run Downhill performed a regular set of songs followed by a performance of Spurs #1 along with each songs respective video (which were projected against the white walls of the gallery).

Run Downhill's webpage describes the music as such:
A band of varied and eclectic roots, they combine the classic country stylings of the mid-20th century with modern indie rock, folk, and world music aesthetics. Combined with Troy’s rustic fables of hardship, loss, and redemption, Run Downhill positions their work outside of a traditional music context, combining it with the world of comic art and graphic novels. Add a pinch of the California coast for flavor, and the result is broad, lush harmonies, deliciously sonorous melodies, and rich textures descriptive of their comic art counterparts.
All in all, that's a rather accurate description. The blending of styles is an inherent fact in the evolution of music, and how organic that integration is reveals a lot about the musicians' intentions with their inspirations. The syncretic nature of Run Downhill's music is subtle and tightly dovetailed, but comes to the surface when one tries to succinctly describe it in words.

Besides the musical fusions involved, Run Downhill is also a conscious exploration of the interplay of media. This cross-platform manner of thinking is innate to a percussionist, whose musical role involves proficiency on a wide collection of different instruments. At the same time, a comic book combines pictorial and textual elements in a similar way. What underlies it all is an examination of the nature of music in this 21st century. For musicians, there is no bigger existential question.

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