electric kompany
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electric kompany


Band Rock Avant-garde


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Art Rock"


Sun, 16 Jul 2006

On Saturday, I caught the final night of "Full Force: The New Rock Complexity," a three-evening festival curated by John Zorn at Tonic. All things considered, I'm sorry to have missed the previous two evenings; friends in the audience were still buzzing about memorable sets from Jerseyband, Newspeak, Time of Orchids and Capital M. (The other two bands that performed on previous nights were Rashanim, whose music I know from a series of fine discs on Zorn's Tzadik label, and Stay Fucked, a wiry math-rock trio that features my friend and TONY colleague Hank Shteamer on drums.)
The concept behind "Full Force" was succinctly stated in Zorn's press release for the event: "This festival presents an exciting new generation of musicians who are expanding preconceived concepts of form and content in the rock idiom. Inspired by a wide variety of influences and using elements of advanced composition, improvisation, noise, rhythms and harmony, these groups bring a stimulating new energy to the musical firmament. Full Force hopes to shed new light on this exciting community of young musical explorers dedicated to complex, compositional rock."
Three bands that participated in the festival have issued CDs on Zorn's Tzadik label; of those, the discs by Time of Orchids and tonight's closer, Kayo Dot, are part of the label's "Composers Series," which means their music is categorized in the same line as music by Milton Babbitt, Charles Wuorinen and Alvin Singleton. This is in itself an extremely provocative statement.
Presumably, Zorn might have expanded on that notion at tonight's pre-concert discussion, which I wasn't able to attend. As it turned out, neither was Zorn, who called in sick. Still, tonight's lineup -- Kayo Dot, Electric Kompany and Larval -- provided an excellent case for this festival's central thesis, since the three bands involved pursued utterly disparate paths toward the stated goal of "complexity."
Kevin R. Gallagher's Electric Kompany posited the traditional guitar-keyboards-bass-drums configuration as a new medium for formal composition. Playing from scores on music stands, the group opened with Grab It!, a composition by the utterly fascinating Dutch composer Jacob ter Veldhuis. Originally composed for solo tenor saxophone with an accompanying track sampled from the documentary film Scared Straight, the piece worked equally well when translated for rock quartet. Sharp, funky syncopations derived from vocal cadences, reminiscent of Scott Johnson's music, proved well suited to Electric Kompany's driving rhythm section. Three pieces by guitarist-composer Nick Didkovsky -- whose band Doctor Nerve was a clear antecedent for the impulses behind this festival -- provided a showcase for Gallagher's well-honed improvisational skills. "Egil the Skald," "We'll Ask the Questions Around Here" and "I Kick My Hand" allowed the leader to soar at length over percolating rhythmic ostinatos; the music sounded something like Canterbury-era prog-rock retuned to a twitchy Manhattanite pulse.
A premiere, David Langanella's Burn, was announced as the first-ever piece fully scored for rock quartet. The work consisted of a fast, agitated introductory movement, a mysterious interlude and a reprise of the initial mood, during most of which Gallagher supplied glowering feedback opposite the band's juddering rhythms. This, more than anything else the group played, felt formal; keyboardist James Johnston, bassist Alex Walker and a guest drummer whose name I didn't catch (regular drummer Thad Wheeler serving at the time as conductor) performed together in sync, but the music they played didn't especially convey the interdependence that is a rock band rhythm section's lifeblood. Three closing miniatures by Marc Mellits (Broken Glass, Lefty's Elegy and Dreadlocked) translated the arpeggio-fuelled drive of Philip Glass to the rock-quartet format idiomatically, the band breathing as one throughout.
- Night after Night music blog


Full Length album - Electric Kompany - 2007

Singles - ZRM, Grab it!, White Flag.

All tracks are streaming and have radio airplay


Feeling a bit camera shy


Electric Kompany is a New York City group which is pushing the boundaries of art - rock music. Their virtuoso style and use of dramatic live video has earned them the title “pioneers of the new rock complexity”. In 2006, EK appeared at the Whitney Museum of American Art, The New York Guitar Festival, The Tribeca New Music Festival, and the New Rock Complexity festivals (1 and 2) curated by John Zorn. 2007 appearances include The Wordless Music Series, Chamber Music Now series, Music Journeys series, as well conservatory residencies in Holland.