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Monday, November 4, 2013

The 13 Best St. Louis Noise/Experimental Bands in 2013

Posted By on Mon, Nov 4, 2013 at 9:17 AM

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Ghost Ice - MABEL SUEN
  • Mabel Suen
  • Ghost Ice

Ghost Ice

You might know Jeremy Kannapell from his stunning poster art for Apop Records. He has worked on album covers for local hardcore heroes Shaved Women and modular madman Raglani. But aside from making a very real impact on local music through his visual work, Kannapell moonlights as our city's most revered (and humble) noise act: Ghost Ice.

For approximately one decade, Kannapell has approached noise from both the academic and punk perspectives to create Ghost Ice, an ever-morphing glut of singular sounds. You won't find a Soundcloud or similar streaming site for Ghost Ice, nor will a quick Google search net you a website or blog. Kannapell prefers to keep Ghost Ice an experience rather than a commodity. There are no goods to buy from Ghost Ice, only live performance. Viewing Ghost Ice via online video would be selling Kannapell short -- because the sets are based on free-improv, they happen only once. Seeking a video would be setting up expectations for something which begs to be free of preconceptions.

RFT readers voted Ghost Ice as Best Noise Band in the 2013 RFT Music Awards. We here at RFT Music touted Ghost Ice as our pick for this city's Best Noise Band back in 2012. Set aside the fact that you can't sample Ghost Ice from your desk chair and go see the man perform instead -- there's a reason why nobody in town can get enough.

See also: Best Noise Band - 2012 Ghost Ice

Kevin Harris - MABEL SUEN
  • Mabel Suen
  • Kevin Harris

Kevin Harris

Most people are either left-brain or right-brain dominant -- not both. Kevin Harris, an electrical engineer by day and an experimental artist by night, somehow manages to harness the powers of each lobe in unison, merging the lines of logic and calculation with emotion and creativity in his music and visual art.

Harris grew up in Oklahoma, getting his first introduction to the world of musical texture and intricacy by frequently riding the bus to the symphony. He later went on to earn an undergraduate degree in music. In St. Louis, he performed in groups such as Airport Elementary School, Bird Leg and Half Gay. These days, he frequently collaborates with fellow musicians, performs in a duo called Lobster with Cook and curates sound art for Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.

Harris specializes in live analog audio synthesis for his solo performances to envelop participants in complex environments of video and electronically generated sound via elaborate boutique synth patches. Typically atonal and arhythmic, sounds generated through modular synthesizers rise and fall like dancing machine ghosts, lost in time and space. Listen for unique timbres in his frequency modulations, generated from authentic noises that can sound deceptively organic. The resulting experience feels otherworldly, in that it's possible to find a different, warped dimension lurking somewhere closely behind the limitations of our physical means. -Mabel Suen

See also: Experimental Artist Kevin Harris Releases a Split Tape with Nathan Cook

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