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Great to welcome David Grubbs back to cafe OTO, this time performing as a trio with two of Italy's finest: Andrea Belfi and Stefano Pilia - both, like Grubbs, well-versed in tearing the wall down between avant-garde praxis and rock energy. David Grubbs is one of the most influential musicians of his generation: a legacy that includes such bands as Squirrel Bait, Bastro and Gastr del Sol, numerous collaborative works and a string of LPs that present his idiosyncratic, immediately recognizable songs and arrangements.
David Grubbs is one of the most influential musicians of his generation: a legacy that includes such bands as Squirrel Bait, Bastro and Gastr del Sol. Moving eccentrically forward from the straight-ahead hardcore punk of Squirrel Bait (after all, he was a wizened eighteen years old when SB called it a day) David increasingly infused his songcraft with an experimental strain, culminating in the discography of Gastr del Sol, who drew widespread interest with the ways in which they combined so-called "songs" with experimental music. Participating in the reinvigorated Red Krayola during this time exposed David to the formative tutelage of Mayo Thompson as well. But after the gradually more streamlined Gastr period concluded with Camoufleur, David's output became more segregated; the albums of pop songs were more focusedly, more cussedly pop, and the more experimental projects (including duo recordings with Mats Gustafsson, Nikos Veliotis, and Loren Connors, not to mention the entire catalog of his Blue Chopsticks label) became more unrelenting.
Flash forward to April 16th, 2013: Drag City releases the sixth and latest David Grubbs album of songs, The Plain Where the Palace Stood, which finds David once again twining together the diverse strands of his vast interests. As in the days of Gastr del Sol, songs float in idiosyncratic yet exceptionally unhurried arrangements. The Plain Where the Palace Stood features vocals on just four of the eleven tracks, yet the album as whole flows—breathes—effortlessly alongside the most critically acclaimed releases of his great catalog, not to mention his contemporaries and kindred artists - Oren Ambarchi, Scott Walker, Talk Talk, and Sunn O))).
This is a process begun on David's previous pop album, An Optimist Notes the Dusk, nearly four years previous. Despite the fluid activity of collaborations, many of which have been released in the time since (and several others coming to fruition this year), patience, meditation and time were required to afford the depth and detail to The Plain Where The Palace Stood. The effect is both striking and tangible; the glass partition which all too often separates genre-spanning rock and academic experimentation shatters under Grubbs’s langourously insistent, idiosyncratic, immediately recognizable songs and arrangements.
ANDREA BELFI / drums
Andrea Belfi (drums, electronics), has studied composition, improvisation and technical applications of electroacoustics. He performs with his electroacoustic solo performance with drums and electronics together, as well as in different collaborative projects. His collaborations extend to diverse musical fields, from electroacoustic experimentation with the trio with David Grubbs and Stefano Pilia and the duo Tangle with Attila Faravelli, to the rock trio "il sogno del marinaio" with the punk-rock legend Mike Watt and Pilia, to the avant-folk of Larkin Grimm, from the radical improvisation of the duo with Ignaz Schick to the audio/visual performance in Stillivingrooms. His work has been released on Chocolateguns, Hapna, Die Schachtel and ROOM40. He toured extensively along all Europe and U.S.(Chicago, New York, Paris, Berlin, Oslo, London, Brussels among others).
STEFANO PILIA / guitar
Bologna-based guitarist Stefano Pilia's solo work draws on his research into the sculputural dimensions of sound and it’s relations with space, memory and time suspension both through instrumental executional-experimental practices (mainly on guitar and dbass) and investigations into the recording and production process… He is one of the founder members of 3/4HadBeenEliminated, a group that synthesises improvisation, electro-acoustic composition and avant-rock sensibilties. Since 2008 he's been part of the Italian band Massimo Volume and since 2010 of In Zaire and has collaborated with Mike Watt (il sogno del marinaio), David Grubbs (bgp trio), David Tibet and ZU (zu93), Rokia Traorè and John Parish, Phill Niblock, Marina Rosenfeld, Andrea Belfi, Valerio Tricoli and Claudio Rocchetti (3/4HBE), Giuseppe Ielasi, and many more...
“Italian guitarist Stefano Pilia is a lyrical minimalist… His playing is poised, higly articulate and emotionally generous” Jon Dale / THE WIRE