Hundred Waters, Eartheater, and Lily Ackerman A/V at Gray Area Festival
On Friday night of the 2018 Gray Area Festival, Hundred Waters, Eartheater, and Lily Ackerman join us for an evening of detailed sonic tapestries and optimistic melodies.
Lily Ackerman will begin the night with her signature style of blended house, techno, and electro. Eartheater will follow with their unique foley-filled digital production, a three-octave vocal range, and classical composition between obsessively detailed romantic electronica. Hundred Waters will close out the night with their remarkable melodies that twist and turn, blurring the lines between acoustic and electronic sounds.
Doors at 9pm. This event is 21+
Sometimes the closest things are the hardest to see. Like a photograph too close to the eyes or a fog that surrounds you. Hundred Waters’ Communicating is an attempt to cut through the blur and ask the most interpersonal questions they could, as a band and as people.
In the three years since 2014’s The Moon Rang Like a Bell, Hundred Waters have traveled, separated, reunited, lost a band member, questioned relationships and strove to understand what it means to be together. Through it all, they have maintained a shared living space, moving between different homes in Los Angeles. In Hundred Waters, there is little separation between work and life, personal and social, inside and outside, physical and psychological.
At the core of the album is the relationship between band members Nicole Miglis and Trayer Tryon, whose relationship catalyzed the band in 2012. There are questions of romantic and non-romantic love, self-realization, growing apart, and finding understanding.
To keep it close, the album was written and recorded largely at home. Nicole chose to cut herself off from the outside world and recorded herself in her closet. Tray produced at the kitchen table or wherever he could make room. When things got too close they set up outside the walls for a bit (drums and piano were recorded in a converted Detroit church), or they’d record their friends into the songs, musicians or not.
Following the release of their recent surprise Currency EP as well as organizing and curating their annual FORM Arcosanti festival, Communicating is a grand and ambitious album. The songwriting energises in a way it never has before, whether it comes in the form of the effervescent ‘Wave to Anchor’ or the stirring ‘Blanket Me’. At the same time it’s more confidently experimental, unafraid to spike its pop hooks with noise, or build elaborate, fractal-like patterns out of Miglis’s multitracked voice.
Where Communicating ultimately succeeds is on the most personal, intimate level. It’s a record about breakups, rebirths, searching for peace, getting lost, and discovering unexpected ways of being happy. Like any form of communication, it’s the balance of giving and taking, the impasse and geometric shapes of misunderstanding, the need to be heard, the need to be loved, and the ways in which we may overlook things through the convenience of constant contact.
“From a broad lens,” Miglis says, “the album is a breakup. It starts with a need for independence and it ends with an ‘all better,’ like we did it: we learned, we loved, we separated, and now it’s time for the next chapter.”
Eartheater is the pseudonym of the Queens-based artist, multi-instrumentalist, composer and vocalist, Alexandra Drewchin. As Eartheater, she distills foley-filled digital production, a three-octave vocal range, and classical composition into works suspended between obsessively detailed sonic tapestries and almost recklessly romantic electronica. Her recorded output is enhanced by her viscerally emotive live performances that capture her fearless physical investment and gut-wrenching vocal sincerity.
After several years fronting the avant-garde project Guardian Alien alongside Greg Fox, Drewchin made her full-length debut as Eartheater in 2015, releasing two consecutive albums on Hausu Mountain — Metalepsis and RIP Chrysalis . Taken together, the twin LPs were a fully realized artistic statement from Drewchin’s solo project, and both records received widespread critical acclaim for their experimentation with pop paradigms. Since her debut, Drewchin has pursued a rigorous tour schedule, sharing bills with contemporaries including Actress, Oneohtrix Point Never, Jenny Hval, Yves Tumor, Klein, Juliana Huxtable, Tim Hecker, Nicolas Jaar and others. Live performance is a central aspect of Eartheater, as Drewchin uses tension and improvisation to translate her intricate compositions into unforgettable corporeal expressions. Her new live set sees her accompanied by the concert harpist Marilu Donivan.
In addition to her Eartheater project, Drewchin performs and collaborates with art duo and close friends FLUCT. In February 2017, she also starred in Raul de Nieves and Colin Self’s opera The Fool at the Kitchen. In May 2017, Drewchin featured on two tracks from Show Me The Body’s Corpus I mixtape alongside Denzel Curry and Moor Mother. She’s currently composing original work for the contemporary chamber orchestra, Alarm Will Sound, that will debut in May 2018. This year, Eartheater signed to renowned experimental label PAN to release her third album: IRISIRI. The album lays out as a shifting network of abstract songcraft, laced with sudden structural upheavals and collisions of mutated tropes from numerous sonic vocabularies. Modular synth staccato plucks hammer out in arrhythmic spirals over a carefully muzzled grid of pumping kicks — unleashed in unpredictable disruptions. Technoid stabs mingle with crushed black metal. An icy OS reads poetry against a bed of granular synth swells. Drewchin's sirening whistle-tone vocals drape over relentless harp arpeggios. Eartheater confounds expectations of structure and resolution before deciding to thread in a sugary melody that snaps us back into some conception,however hazy, of pop songwriting. Guest spots on IRISIRI charge Drewchin's ideas with concordant energies, from the stark imagist poetry of Odwalla1221 on “Inhale Baby,” to the sheer lacerating force of Moor Mother's unflinching verse on “MMXXX.” Drewchin's lyrics, strewn with flourishes of wordplay and symbolism, explore themes of her autodidactic experience — playing with the tutelage of the ‘pupil’ within the ‘iris' mirrored in the palindrome IRISIRI . One motif appears as a song name, “C.L.I.T.,” which Drewchin breaks down into "Curiosity Liberates Infinite Truth." The acronym stands as a microcosm of the Eartheater project in its holistic combination of idiosyncratic spirituality and cheekiness, presented with an earnest confidence that some could consider confrontational. In spite of this lexicon’s maximal effect, it comes from a very personal place as she states, “curiosity has had to be the currency of my education.” On “OS In Vitro,” she reminds us that “These tits are just a side effect,"and "You can't compute her," as if to acknowledge the clouding effect of sexuality and technology in the face of a higher self-significance. In the record’s accompanying video piece, “Claustra,” she slides between “the owning of my loneliness” and “the end of the loaning of my onliness,” encapsulating images of self- purifying isolation and the rejection of artistic exploitation with the flip of two syllables. The transmuting landscape of IRISIRI is riddled with evocative poetry and evidence of Drewchin’s development as an artist since her debut in 2015.
Lily Ackerman is a classical pianist, electronic music producer, and DJ based in San Francisco. Her penchant for melodic, groove-focused deep house and techno is reflected in her meticulously crafted dj mixes and productions. She is a resident DJ of As You Like It (AYLI), a group bringing quality electronic music, late nights and experiences to the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. She is also a co-founder of the Diacritic Collective, a group of friends who share the same passion for music - making it, digging for it, and sharing it with others, especially vinyl. Her EP’s and remixes have been released on San Francisco based labels Mioli Music, Friends with Benefits Records, and Perfect Location Records. One can often find her on the decks in dance clubs around the Bay Area, such as at local institutions Housepitality and Sunset Campout, playing alongside artists such as Nina Kraviz, Sascha Braemer, Avalon Emerson, Cosmin TRG, and Vera. But she also feels just at home throwing and playing more intimate, inclusive parties in living rooms, local record shops, and underground locations, where you may hear ambient, italo, disco, or electro effortlessly blended together with house and techno in her signature style.