Arvo Pärt Reinvented

It was a double dose of Amiina and Slow Six this weekend. Earlier, I wrote about their Echoes Living Room Concert performances. But I also got to see them in regular concert performances, both on the same day.
There were only about 60 people at the Slow Six concert this past Saturday night at The Gatherings in St,. Mary’s Church, but they witnessed a compelling music vision. If King Crimson is Bartok with guitars, then Slow Six is Arvo Pärt meeting King Crimson. Composer and violinist Christopher Tignor merges rock sensibilities with ambient aesthetics, avant-garde edges and Pärt’s sense of the relentlessly serene. These seemingly opposite approaches somehow cohere in Tignor’s vision as twin violins play out contrapuntal minimalist patterns over star patterns of Fender Rhodes piano, guitar textures and insistent, but never overpowering drums. It was a provocative and totally immersive performance that venerated St. Mary’s Church and lifted its audience into a tumultuous, but wondrous heaven. Their album, Private Times in Public Places is a work of slo-mo ambient chamber music, but their forthcoming CD will take this even further.
Private Times in Public Places
Earlier that day I witnessed the Icelandic group Amiina, effect a similar fete, but in a much less atmospheric environment, World Café Live. It’s a great space, but you never forget it’s a club, not a church. Nevertheless, four cute and diminutive Icelandic women scurried about the stage swapping off from cellos and violins to music boxes, metallophones, wine glass, bells, bowed saws and more in a performance that was enchanting in it’s simple, fragile melodies and innocent in its childlike wonder. If Slow Six is Arvo Pärt meets King Crimson, then Amiina is Arvo Pärt as a music box. Some of their music can be heard on the four song EP, but I can’t wait for their first full length album.
Here’s some shots from Amiina’s Echoes Living Room Concert:
Amiina Through Glass Amiina Group AmiinaMusicBox

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