Event on 2015-01-12 21:00:00


Limbo as the space between heaven and hell where unblessed babies float, sighing; limbo as the supple-spined Calypsonian dance craze: here exists The Immoralist. Elisa Ambrogio, Magik Markers power front, lyric intelligence, guitar g'rilla, and awkward weirdo, is back (and forth, too) to deposit her first full length solo outing on yer doorstep! The Immoralist lies at the wicked crossroads of Wilson Pickett's electric wail and the sweetest of Wilson Phillips harmonies. A pox on the venal mind too workaday and SEO oriented to pick up the x/y axis what she's putting down!

Exhibiting a new refinement on The Immoralist, Elisa's earliest childhood musical loves- The Poni-Tails, Tiffany, and The Dixie Cups- rise through the haze-n-raze of electric guitar and drums with a pop repercussion previously unexplored by Magik Markers. Glossy melodies, drums that throb with the rhythmic stamp of a celibate sect, and layers of vocals joined in harmony over stark sound-beds engage a whole new quadrant of Starship Ambrogio. Meanwhile, the endocrine hiss of Love's Baby Soft and heart-caught-in-throat emulsion sweats from the tracks, taking Cale's conceit of fear as man's best friend and playing fetch with it.

What if Peter Laughner was a woman, and stayed alive? Geez, I don't know! This mix of humility and hubris, the sadness and direction all at once weave through the album. Here shines the dichotomy of a work that has a sadness, while it's very existence is proof of a joy. The vestigial melancholic glow of this album could not exist without a boundless optimism, so like, what the fuck? Elisa Ambrogio has a solo record coming October 21st, 2014, and it's called The Immoralist is what the fuck.


Nathan Bowles is a multi-instrumentalist musician and teacher living in the mountains of southwestern Virginia. His work, both as an accomplished solo artist and as a sought-after ensemble player, explores the rugged country between the poles of Appalachian old-time traditions and ecstatic, minimalist drone. Although his recent solo recordings prominently feature his virtuosic banjo, Bowles is also widely recognized as a drummer, and he considers himself first and foremost a percussionist, with banjo as a natural extension of his percussive practice.

He and his bandmates in the popular and critically acclaimed old-time group the Black Twig Pickers steep themselves in local traditions of Appalachian folk music and dance, very much a vital part of cultural life in the region. As a member of the long-running improvisational drone outfit Pelt, Bowles focuses on the various sonic possibilities inherent in struck and bowed percussion—metal, wood, skin, or otherwise. When playing by his lonesome under his birthname, he prefers either minimal and hyper-nuanced percussive drone or tranced-out solo clawhammer banjo. Bowles has also recorded, collaborated, and performed with Steve Gunn, Jack Rose, Hiss Golden Messenger, Black Dirt Oak, Scott Verrastro, Pigeons, Spiral Joy Band, and others.

The seven songs on his second solo album Nansemond deploy banjo, percussion, piano, tapes, and—for the first time—his robust voice, moving effortlessly between composed sections, improvised passages, and field recordings. The Nansemond suite demonstrates the elasticity of Appalachian and Piedmont stringband music and the inherent connections, when those forms are distended, dilated, and dissected—as in the “Sleepy Lake” pieces, “Chuckatuck,” or “Golden Floaters/Hog Jank”—to contemporary improvised and post-minimalist avant-garde music. Bowles’ inventive playing on the album somehow finds common ground between tradition-bearing masters like Dock Boggs, Dink Roberts, and Etta Baker and the outré compositional experiments and extended techniques of Paul Metzger, Clive Palmer, and Henry Flynt. But these two strains always feel purposefully and organically integrated, not distinct or hierarchical, and that elegant and novel elision is perhaps the most notable accomplishment of these hypnotic recordings: they respectfully refuse to accept the porous boundaries between Southern vernacular music and modernism.

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