Thor and Friends
The Subversive Nature of Kindness
Living Music Duplication
I fell in love with this disc the moment I pressed play. The Subversive Nature of Kindness is a gentle, percussion-centric journey into Avant-classical chamber music. The debt owed to forerunners Terry Riley and Steve Reich are obvious. All of the music on this disc is based on repeating rhythmic phrases and pulsed beats. The spare sonic pallet allows for a very open, expansive sound. I find the music to be relaxing, meditative and full of surprises.
Thor Harris spent five years with the avant-rock band, The Swans before putting together this group. The core musicians are Harris (percussion and wind instruments), Peggy Ghorbani on marimba and Sarah “Goat” Gautier on vibes, marimba, organ, mellotron, piano and voice. The membership expands and contracts with as situations change. The ideal is to experiment and collaborate with a rotating cast of musicians and friends. Strings, processed guitars and other unique sounds filter through the mix. On “90 Meters”, it is sometimes hard to tell if the otherworldly wounds are coming from Enrique Soriah’s throat singing or the loops of an ancient mellotron. Norwegian opera singer Stine Janvin Motland featured on the haunting “Swimming with Stine” (which sounds like it also features a woodpecker). Michael Gira and Soriah contribute voices to the discs most cinematic and expressionist piece, “Standing Rock”. To me, the song evokes sadness, loneliness and wide open spaces.
I have been seduced by The Subversive Nature of Kindness. I think most of us could use more kindness in our lives. While you can’t necessarily count on the people around you to be kind, I think it’s nice to know that you can put Thor and Friends in your music player and get a little musical kindness whenever you feel the need.