Wednesday, June 24, 2009

2008-12-04 - The Tampa Tribune

Of Montreal Stages Its Divine Nonsense

Of Montreal -- from left to right, Jamey Huggins, Ahmed Gallab, Bryane Poole, Kevin Barnes,
Dottie Alexander and Davey Pierce -- will perform at the Ritz Ybor on Monday.

By CURTIS ROSS | The Tampa Tribune
Published: December 4, 2008

Downloading has killed the album, so the music industry would have you believe. Everyone just grabs their favorite tracks anyway, so what's the point of a carefully sequenced, start-to-finish listening event?

The point is albums such as Of Montreal's "Skeletal Lamping," an hour of divine nonsense and profound insanity, a down-home brew of skittering funk, unhinged psychedelia and prog-rock trailblazing.

Of Montreal mastermind-mad scientist Kevin Barnes recorded the dense, swirling and sometimes confounding work on his own, at home on his computer. It's up to Bryan Poole and the rest of his Of Montreal band mates - Dottie Alexander, Ahmed Gallab, Jamey Husband and Davey Price - to figure out how to make it work live.

"It's a blessing and a curse for the rest of the band," Poole admits by telephone from his home in Athens, Ga., days before the band heads out to show audiences how "Skeletal Lamping" comes alive.

The blessing would be playing amazing music. The curse is that "we're not necessarily involved in creating or making the material. I'm on the record here and there, but I'm not really involved in the process," Poole says.

"We did an experiment of going into the studio to record as a band but at the end of the day it seemed fiscally smarter for Kevin to keep doing it the way he was doing it," Poole says.

The reasons aren't only financial, though.

"Kevin writes all the songs and he knows how to play everything like Prince does. He doesn't want to wait around," Poole says. "What he can do in a day or night might otherwise take a week. He'd have to ask everybody in the band to come over and crowd into his attic."

Also, Poole adds, "The way he writes these days is not a straightforward kind of thing. He's got it in his head how things are gonna flow."

How Barnes flows can cause consternation for the band.

"After Kevin has recorded, we have to figure out how to play it," Poole says. "When we first started trying to play some of these songs we didn't have any idea where they started and ended. We just had to arbitrarily start here and there."

The live set encompasses almost the entire "Skeletal Lamping" album, although not in sequence, as well as songs from previous works such as 2007's "Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?" performed in two 45-minute blocks.

"Kevin wanted it the album to be a bit schizophrenic," Poole says. "I guess depending on someone's emotional state it resembles how you could be thinking about one thing and find it dovetailing into something else."

No comments:

Post a Comment