James Findlay enlists Granted Earth to help bring his solo instrumental project Concave to life at Jose’s.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
James Findlay is the David Blaine of music. Put him in a recording studio alone – with drums, guitars, bass, keyboards and a vibraphone – and he will escape with an album that sounds like him and a full band of experts.
Findlay’s ability to perform musical magic came to fruition after spending a few years with local metal band Razorhoof and never feeling like he was on the same wavelength with the other band members.
“I realized really early on that there was no one locally that had the same influences that I did,” he says.
In 2006, his prog-metal-instrumental solo project, Concave, was born. In addition to playing every note on every song, Findlay also produced both albums he’s released thus far.
Concave’s sophomore LP, History is the Future, provides a well-organized, detail-oriented hodgepodge of Sebadoh’s kinetic oomph, Built To Spill riffage and a smidgen of Sonic Youth noise rock. Its six tracks blend together to create a single, interconnected experience, almost like a film score. “Hopefully a science fiction movie,” Findlay says.
The album opener, “A Call To Consciousness,” definitely enjoys some sci-fi sentiment. It begins with ambient noise under a Stephen Hawking/Big Bang Theory soundbite before blasting off into spacey, intergalactic metal. Findlay brings it back into the atmosphere with “We Miss You Jerry Fuchs,” an homage to the late artist/musician – known for his work as a touring drummer with LCD Soundsystem and MSTRKRFT – delivered with punchy, down-to-earth arpeggios and percussion that would paint a big smile on Fuchs’ face.
After Findlay pulled off a great album without anyone else in the room, another challenge presented itself: translating it live, which he will do for the first time on Saturday at Jose’s. Findlay knew he couldn’t do this part alone.
“It was hard to find like-minded individuals and get them to donate their time because there’s no money to hire people,” Findlay says. “I really lucked out with getting Granted Earth because they already do music in the same vein.”
Not only does the local stoner-metal band share musical tastes with Findlay, they also started out all-instrumental. They’ve been collaborating for the past several months.
“I don’t think what I’m doing is too complicated, technically,” Findlay says. “But there is a lot of weirdness.”
There’s more weird where that came from: Findlay is already writing and demoing new material for a follow-up to History is the Future and plans to begin recording before the year’s end.
“Where there’s a lot of indie stuff and experimental on the current record, I’m switching gears to more straightforward rock,” he says. “The next album is going to be more cohesive. I’m really looking forward to getting back into the studio.”
Lo-fi indie outfit Commissure and post-punk rockers Time Spent Driving open.
CONCAVE headlines the show that starts 9pm Saturday, Aug. 25, at Jose’s Underground Lounge, 638 Wave St., Monterey. $5. 655-4419.