Waveforms 2.0 Week Three: Aligning Minds, RBTS WIN, Blue Sky Black Death
When I initially saw the lineup for Waveforms 2.0, Aligning Minds’ month-long residency at the Asheville Music Hall, I was most excited for this coming Saturday, when local favorites RBTS WIN and Seattle-based Blue Sky Black Death hit the stage. Waveforms has been incredible so far, and this weekend will be another amazing installment of the series, which has brought some of the most exciting and groundbreaking musicians to this idyllic mountain community in Western North Carolina. This week will also feature a set from 5ifth and of course Aligning Minds will be returning to the stage.
5ifth will open the evening, setting the tone with a blend of beats that alternate between chilled out and dark. 5ifth’s music combines sharp, edgy sounds with smooth layers of more muted and harmonious chords. A sampling from 5ifth’s Soundcloud (check it out here) indicates that the music will be perfect for the residency. The vibe fits with the expansive consciousness-raising sounds we’ve been hearing all month, striking a balance between the uplifting and the grounded. Darker songs evoke the works of Autechre and other experimental electronic artists, while songs like “Day One” build steadily into a danceable house beat that incorporates lilting, higher-frequency sounds to create a balance between the bass and the other components. 5ifth seems relatively new to the IDM scene in Asheville, so it will be exciting to see where the set goes.
RBTS WIN will bring their unique sound and energy to the stage after 5ifth. RBTS WIN’s recent re-release of their LP, Palm Sunday (Deluxe Edition), had critics from all over the country raving (see Sensible Reason’s review of the album here). RBTS WIN uses a combination of digital and analog technology to create music that is totally fresh and Palm Sunday brings in sounds from electronic, rock, psychedelic, pop, hip-hop, jazz, and a multitude of other genres to craft songs that stick in your head for days. Vocalist Cliff B. Worsham writes lyrics that speak to the heart. The synthesis created between Worsham and fellow band members Javier Franciso Bolea (on synth) and Josh Chassner (on guitar) transports listeners to lush landscapes of sound. RBTS WIN will be performing songs from Palm Sunday as well as new material from their upcoming full-length album (no details yet about the title or release date). Palm Sunday: The Remixes was also recently released through Bandcamp (download it for free here), and features a remix of “Death Magic” by headliners Blue Sky Black Death (see below).
Aligning Minds returns for another week of expansive, layered music that is sure to get everyone moving. Last week’s performance, which featured the organic, improvisational dancing of tribal belly-dancer Kristi Wrolstad, was a highlight of the evening. Getting to see Aligning Minds perform this much has been a real treat because the music has managed to bring in new elements each time. Last time, the vocals of Robert Manos provided an opportunity for Aligning Minds to riff organically off of the collaborative energy. While I’ve been impressed with Aligning Minds’ set every time, what is perhaps most impressive is the energy, skill, and passion that Mike Folk has continued to pour into these events. Each night has managed to go off without a single hitch and the artists’ performances, despite their differences in terms of style and sound, have come together perfectly. In fact, the dizzying variety of performers speaks volumes about Aligning Minds’ ability to envision and manifest exactly the kinds of musical collaboration that they were hoping for with this series.
Headliners Blue Sky Black Death (BSBD) will be the perfect follow-up to the Aligning Minds set. They are also one of the main highlights in an evening filled with amazing talent. The Seattle-based duo has been making music since 2003 and their most recent album, Glaciers (2013), continues to develop their signature style, which is characterized by lush, emotional songs that feature samples that reference popular culture as much as they do dreams and fantasies. BSBD has the ability to take listeners on journeys that are as much internal as they are immersed in the surrounding world and the wider cosmos. The group creates their dreamy, evocative sounds through a mixture of sampling and live instrumentation. Songs meld influences from electronic music and hip hop with vocal and other samples to forge unique combinations that can be moody, tragic, beautiful, uplifting, and transportive all at once. BSBD also remixed “Death Magic,” one of RBTS WIN’s songs from Palm Sunday: check it out below. Get tickets for this weekend’s show here.