The Physics of Meaning is a chamber rock band from North Carolina, spearheaded by multi-instrumentalist songwriter Daniel Hart. Daniel is a member of St. Vincent and John Vanderslice's band, as well as a frequent contributor to The Polyphonic Spree.
Much in the same way that Daniel splits his time now between several different projects, Daniel split his time growing up between two passions. He started playing the violin when he was only three years old and continued to study classical music throughout his adolescence. The weeks were spent practicing Bach sonatas and partitas; Saturdays rehearsing "Peer Gynt" and "The Firebird Suite" in citywide youth orchestra.
But Daniel also loved plays, taking up the role of Mercutio in a high school summer Shakespeare festival, reading the work of modern greats like Sam Shepard and Samuel Beckett. At college, Daniel delved into playwriting, examining human motivation as it translates from the written word to the stage, writing his own plays and performing them with his classmates.
So The Physics of Meaning is the culmination of these two influences: Daniel's love of violin and his love of dialogue-driven storytelling. Physics songs are narratives, character sketches, soliloquies, arguments, secret wishes and unsolved mysteries, all accompanied by strings which slide and sear and tremble and distort. The music evokes the sweet earnestness of John Vanderslice, the technical beauty of St. Vincent, and the charging energy of the Spree, while the effects of a youth spent listening to Led Zeppelin and Yes are also evident.
The Physics of Meaning just finished recording its fully-orchestrated second album, "Snake Charmer and Destiny at the Stroke of Midnight", which is due out in Septmber 2008 on Trekky/Bu Hanan. The album was engineered by Mark Paulson (Bowerbirds, The Rosebuds) and Alex Lazara (The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers), and features strings, winds, horns, harp and a choir, with help from Adam Baker (Annuals) and Annie Clark (St. Vincent).
Daniel - vocals, violin, guitar
Wylie - guitar
Wil - bass
Casey - many things
Dylan - drums, glock'n'roll
Sara - vocals, keyboard
The Physics of Meaning -- self-titled debut
released November 2005 on Bu Hanan Records
Snake Charmer and Destiny at the Stroke of Midnight -- the second Physics album, released September 2008 on Trekky Records
Physics of Meaning Live Video from KEXP CMJ sessions
Force Field PR CMJ Showcase
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Particularly impressive was the set put on by The Physics of Meaning. It is kind of a ridiculous na...Particularly impressive was the set put on by The Physics of Meaning. It is kind of a ridiculous name, but this foursome fronted by an intense violinist is destined for big things. They have got the same sort of integrity and gorgeousness that makes other North Carolina-bred bands (like Annuals) so loveable.
Suggested Itineraries - The Physics Of Meaning
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This is the solo project of Daniel Hart, who share his time and incredible multi-instrumental talent...This is the solo project of Daniel Hart, who share his time and incredible multi-instrumental talent with the bands of St. Vincent and John Vanderslice. Hart's music, self-described as chamber rock, is complex in part from his classical training, but remains relative to indie rock with strong melodies, gorgeous layering and simple honesty.
Physics on Daytrotter
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North Carolina band The Physics of Meaning is led by Daniel Hart, who brings the attic feeling into ...North Carolina band The Physics of Meaning is led by Daniel Hart, who brings the attic feeling into his virtuous songs of inescapable pain and dramatic texture. They recall bygone times and the way that people looked from far away in memories, with a shine and a more porcelain gloss. The stories are high with tension and threaded together with a passionate discourse of unbridled steam and storm. You see it setting up at the edge of town, tumbling in from the west, turning on all of the street lamps as it methodically makes a night out of a day, delivering a reminder that there’s more to this living thing than we could ever control. Hart and his violin are one and the same apparatus, working in unison to bend the frames of typical pop, into pieces that open up old souls from the grounds. They make for contemporary hauntings – recalling those tiny nettlesome skeletons in the closet or attic, slumped into a hot or frigid crawlspace, where just two triangular windows on the ends of the structure provide looking space – a connection to the outside. He and his revolving band of players – depending on availability and the time of year – create so much urgency in these songs that are more graphic folktales of a new kind, ones that befriend the line of thinking that Colin Meloy, Zach Condon and Hart’s frequent boss John Vanderslice take when writing. They are stories about hardships and discomforts, realizations of just how everything fits together in its jarring and contradictory way sometimes. The muffled groans that are coming from the top of the stairs that you hear – the hollow bangs of the floorboards above the head – is the band channeling these ghosts, locked in their periods and steps, that reach out to them for their vocalness.
Album review for Snake Charmer
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Back in the old days, when an album cover and a name were enough for a chance purchase, this is the ...Back in the old days, when an album cover and a name were enough for a chance purchase, this is the album you'd bring home to hear from a band called something like The Physics of Meaning. With silhouettes of a winged creature and a snake on the front and back covers, respectively, it portends a fantastic tale whose drama rolls in like summer stormclouds, dark, sudden and fierce. You wanted to explore.
Snake Charmer and Destiny at the Stroke of Midnight is the second album by Daniel Hart's loose musical collective, Chapel Hill's The Physics of Meaning. Sometime violinist to St. Vincent, John Vanderslice andâ€”more to the pointâ€”The Polyphonic Spree, Hart delivers a moody, dynamic epic here, its swooning, fevered, 12-song course often seeming better-suited for the theater than the club. Like the Spree, Hart likes big tapestries and stages and screens. But if the Spree once made Jesus Christ Superstar, Hart's latest is Tristan und Isolde.
Indeed, this richly orchestrated rock-opera focuses on a pair of seemingly star-crossed lovers, who, in a familiar glyph, discover each other only to be pulled apart. Hart employs 20 additional instrumentalists and almost as many vocalists on an album whose scope and dynamics suggest a major motion picture. Its ambition recalls the progressive rockers of the '70s, and Hart is, not coincidentally, also a student of classical music, fashioning several moments of elegant delicacy showcasing such influence.
Though the album definitely rocks at pointsâ€”like the trilling-cello that's the racing heartbeat beneath "No More Sleeping in the Shadows"â€”those moments have quieter counterparts, even within the same song. On tracks such as the harp- and harmony-driven lullaby "Around the Bend," the cinematic swell feels almost Hollywood.
This isn't a strict criticism, though, as Snake Charmer is wonderfully crafted and gracefully executed. But its pacing and texture are considered enough to risk becoming lost as background music. This is music that you listen to, which might sound strange, except music's more an accessory or soundtrack these days than the central locus. People don't want to explore as much. Like his rich lyrical metaphors ("Where's the snake charmer who can cure the venomous heart?") and multi-movement passages, Hart's latest requires time and attention to fully digest. Effort, though, is a chief constituent in most things of value.
Physics on Gothamist
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The Physics of Meaning played our Gothamist House show on Wednesday, and have been one of our favori...The Physics of Meaning played our Gothamist House show on Wednesday, and have been one of our favorite bands this CMJ by far.
The Physics of Meaning album review
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The Physics of Meaning is well on its way to great. While Hart plays a violin (yes, like Final Fanta...The Physics of Meaning is well on its way to great. While Hart plays a violin (yes, like Final Fantasy, Patrick Wolf and Andrew Bird), his band sounds more like Grandaddy, Broken Social Scene, John Vanderslice - crunchy drums, backward-spinning electric guitars, tumbles into cut glass. Though the lyrics sometimes carry the insipid philosophising bemoaned above, often they fall closer to the giddy side of emo: everyday phrases repeated until they begin to glow. The strings are arranged marvelously, with unexpected harmonies and then sudden dashes of feeling. At their best - stripped to modest pretensions, pop music instead of treatise, - they're electrifying.
The Physics of Meaning - "Down at Columbia and Cameron". See this is what I'm talking about. Roll-over-and-over drums, blended vocals that would make Fountains of Wayne blush, and it's a song about girls (or maybe boys - he doesn't specify). There's a breeziness here, the way the synths bump into the strings like they've been distracted by some cherry-blossoms. More exciting still is the way the band finds another vibe in the second half - a woozy regalness, the prince having a lazy spring fever spazz-out. The sort of song you want to parcel into a parcel, tape up, and send over the water to make someone smile.
The Physics of Meaning - "Manhattan Is An Island". Drum machine, boy and girl, Notwists of synth: a slippery song, slick and supple, strings sneering. And then the slap of sound, the surge of static, the ceiling slipping. I love the aqueous feel of the whole thing, with the vocals set slightly apart. (On an island, natch.) But when the voices stop and the skyscrapers begin to fall; well, they fall.
The Physics of Meaning play the Bickett
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"As members of three of my favorite local outfits come together to form The Physics of Meaning, I'll..."As members of three of my favorite local outfits come together to form The Physics of Meaning, I'll go ahead and preemptively call this newfangled excursion a Triangle supergroup. [They] have something special on their hands with this mercurial, under-construction pop pursuit." -- Grayson Currin
There are no upcoming dates at this time.