Racquetball Court, Des Moines Social Club
Jon Mueller (of Volcano Choir, Bon Iver)
I’ll admit outright that I love it when people get weird. Not “this is uncomfortable” weird, but more like seeing someone you work with outside of work for the first time and realizing that bartending or waiting tables really is just a miniscule part of what they do with their life.
Jon Mueller, largely known for his work as the drummer in Jagjaguwar supergroup, Volcano Choir, gets weird when you get him in a room alone. Chanting and earthly rhythms like spirit animal kind of stuff, predating pop music as a whole. Or perhaps postdating it, considering the recent emergence of noise music characteristics in otherwise non-experimental genres.
Regardless, Mueller’s take on things as a solo musician lie somewhere outside of documented time and convention, resulting in the kind of new ideas which seek to enhance music as a whole from its undiscovered corners teeming with qualities of the unclassifiable.
Jordan Mayland (Des Moines, IA)
If one were to compile a list of Iowa’s most prolific musicians, Jordan Mayland would appear high in the ranks. And his contribution differs greatly from project to project: leading the pack in The Thermal Detonators, crushing drums in The Wheelers, texturizing the wall of sound in Tires with synth melodies. The list goes on.
It is often said that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, but in the case of Mayland’s solo interpretation of songs since taken to full band performances, a certain quality of privacy is revealed. The simplicity of voice and piano mold together into an expression, separate from the qualities of entertainment inherent in a performance, provoking thought and demanding full attention through detail, rather than volume.
ARU (Dubuque, IA)
Dubuque’s Aural Resurrection Unit (ARU) has been turning dance music weird along the river for years, picking up the pieces of drums from last night’s rave and filtering them through enough effects to bury the individual hits under a kind of juxtaposed haze, wherein any dance floor details are lost underneath the waves of churning rhythm. A wall of texture remains, rippling like a body of water.
Skyscraper (Des Moines, IA)
“I spliced my sampler into the timeline of a world filled with religious traditions and listened to too much gritty hip-hop to keep it from sounding pretty. Then, I started having these perfect dreams about a tall, dark-haired girl named Luney, who came to represent the line I drew as a guidepost for judging both my sanity and the state of my soul. And then I stopped having the dreams and let the samples ride out toward infinity, unchanging in search of eternal youth.” –Warm Gospel
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