Corpus Callosum
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Corpus Callosum

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Band Folk Avant-garde

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Music

Press


""Uncanny Valley of the Heart's Delight" (KQED, San Francisco, CA)"

[…] the band began a set with their flutist stilt-walking down San Jose's South First Street alongside a nine-foot-tall winged beast puppeteered by the rest of the band. When asked about past performances, they talked about "shooting the moon and showering our audience with paper cranes... and performing music in dresses that rose out of the carpets." They seem like characters from a bizarre fable, following up the theatrics with songs about Descartes' robotic daughter, a dysfunctional relationship built on shared cigarettes, and the woes of having a blue-eyed lover. The band creates their sound with the usual instruments -- guitar, bass, drums -- supplemented by noises made using wine glasses, pick axe heads, and truck parts, as well as a number of home-made instruments. It's nothing short of an art circus. - KQED


"Notes from the frontier (Leo Weekly, Louisville, KY)"

[...] present that evening was a traveling band of minstrels and assorted beautiful freaks called Corpus Callosum [...] who grafted gospel numbers, chilling flute and drum choruses, dark lullabies, a collection of perfectly tuned wine glasses and circus showmanship into a performance that convinced me of the continued viability of simple human dignity.

Their set culminated in a performance piece in which [...] Dax intoned a dark, half-sung, half-whispered seafaring tale while slowly assembling a hand-made cardboard square-rigger. Yellowed paper stuck to the mast for sails, he hove the vessel up and sailed it calmly through the crowd. As the story crested in the din of maritime battle, as the privateer cursed their captain, the cardboard ship started to fall apart, piece by piece, landing on the ground of the hazelnut orchard until the wreckage was complete. - Leo Weekly (Louisville, KY)


"Corpus Callosum... National Tour (Metro, San Jose, CA)"

"They are more of a musical theatrical troupe. They put a lot of work into each of their performances, which are a mixture of indie-folk music, visual arts, theater performance and puppetry. Their shows usually begin with something truly fantastic like having the entire troupe enter the stage alongside a life-size eight-foot-plus tall puppet. It is a visual-auditory spectacle." - Metro Silicon Valley


Discography

"Machine Under Its Own Spell" EP, 2005
* charted #2 on WNUR Chicago, IL; #1 on KUOI, Moscow, ID

"Lullaby #2" single w/ music video, 2009
* >12,000 views

"self-titled" full-length, 2010
* >3000 downloads

"This Inevitable Accumulation" full-length, upcoming/2013

Photos

Bio

A Corpus Callosum show starts small: an accordionist approaches the stage alone. He squeezes a slow chantey from the yawning bellows of his accordion. He sings. One by one his band mates emerge from the crowd. Each member of Corpus Callosum carries a worn brown suitcase. The lilting solo ballad effloresces into full orchestration as the performers divest their suitcases of the instruments therein concealed. Accordion is joined by bells, mandolin, ukulele, banjo, toy piano and scrap-metal percussion, while vocals branch into four-part harmony.

Throughout the performance each member will take several parts, calling for several instruments, and sing harmonies. With Stevie's arrangements Corpus Callosum can effect the sound of a small orchestra. Dax, a puppeteer with an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, builds an eight foot long Spanish galleon from seemingly haphazard bits of cardboard. Stephanie, a dancer trained in Prague, twirls with a giant moth puppet. Qarly, a graduate of the Clown Conservatory in San Francisco, dons stilts. Jason hammers a soft beat from his home-made banjo, Avery tears the strings of a guitar emblazoned with an oil painting of a moth caught in a spider’s web, while Andrea spins tender melodies on the strings of a mandolin older than bluegrass.

Corpus Callosum is entirely self-produced with a DIY spirit, but a professional ethic. The EP “Machine Under Its own Spell” was released in 2005 and charted across the country. After a break for graduate school, the band reformed in 2009 as a 7-piece music & performance ensemble and were immediately selected for the unsolicited Belle Foundation fellowship. Their first festival-scale puppetry performance, "The Museum Proper," debuted in 2010 and was awarded Editor's Choice by Maker Faire. The first full-length album, also released in 2010, features over 20 different instruments ranging from tuned wine glasses and stylophones to a harpsichord. They have launched three successful kickstarter campaigns, allowing them to function entirely on grassroots funding, and have so toured nationally. Corpus Callosum collaborates with many artists, and have recorded soundtracks for director Jason Rengel and the award-winning game studio Double Fine. When left to their own devices they develop movement-based performance art vignettes, avant-garde puppet shows and physically demanding music videos. The band currently curates a bimonthly evening of music & performance in San Jose, CA, as well as runs a small performance space near downtown San Francisco. A second album, now in progress, is being crafted in a warehouse recording environment, built themselves to satisfy unique artistic ideas. Corpus Callosum has opened for such bands as Yo La Tengo, Xiu Xiu, The Mountain Goats, Isis, Mates of State, Deerhoof, Jason Webley and Laura Gibson.