CONCERT PREVIEW: Seattle Marimba Quartet

Join us Saturday, March 11 at 7:30pm as we present the Seattle Marimba Quartet as part of On Stage with Classical KING FM at Resonance at SOMA Towers! Get your tickets now – it’s a small venue and will easily sell out!

SMQ thinks way outside the box when it comes to percussion – and classical music. Join us for a showcase classical favorites (Bach, Mahler, Ravel), a unique blend of drumming styles from around the world, and modern marimba repertoire from the 20th and 21st centuries. Best of all, YOU will have a chance to learn and perform Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, and African drumming rhythms right along with them! Presented by Second Inversion, KING FM’s project dedicated to rethinking classical music. 

SMQ formed in 2007 by members Christian Krehbiel, Chris Lennard, Craig Wende and Brian Yarkosky while earning music degrees at the University of Washington. SMQ strives to engage audiences with their unique blend of drumming styles from around the world, as well as modern marimba repertoire from the 20th and 21st centuries. Much of their current repertoire consists of their original mallet keyboard arrangements with works by such composers as Ravel, Saint-Saëns, Mahler, and Bach. SMQ’s showcase of the diversity of percussion makes for an interesting and entertaining concert experience.

And – SMQ has just released their new album, A Thousand Pictures, which offers a great preview of what you’ll hear live on Saturday, March 11!

SNEAK PEEK AUDIO LEAK: Loop 2.4.3’s Time-Machine_music

by Maggie Stapleton

Second Inversion presents new and unusual music from all corners of the classical genre… and we mean NEW. Sneak Peek Audio Leak is your chance to stream fresh sounds and brand new music of note with insights from our team and the artists.

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Loop 2.4.3 has been producing percussion and electronics-driven music since 2004. Founder Thomas Kozumplik guides the ensemble, varying in size from solo to octet (but most often 2-3 performers), through his vision of exploration and freedom. The group’s name comes from a place near and dear to Thomas’ heart – Powers Hall 243 at Central Michigan University, where he and a “Loop,” of close friends spent countless hours making music together.

Time-Machine_music is an entirely solo composition and performance venture for Thomas. This 6-track collection has juxtaposing acoustic and electronic textures in every pore and fiber of the 36 minutes. Thomas’ electro-acoustic percussion set-up includes Chinese tom-toms, Indian bells, crotales, log drums, tambourim, bass drum, percussion sample pad, tape echo, and delay. The fun doesn’t stop there – he also plays marimba, vibraphone, Thai gongs, piano, Wurlitzer, steel drum, kalimba, and uses vocal samples.

(this album is no longer available for streaming via Second Inversion, but you can visit Music Starts from Silence to order your copy!)

As the name of the album implies, time is of the essence, and explores manipulations of time through a cathartic journey. Thomas goes on to elaborate that Time-Machine_music, “explores the vast and tiny spaces, the worm holes, or the connections between points in time, and even singular points of time where an overwhelming multitude of thoughts, ideas, and emotions occur simultaneously. It acknowledges that brilliance and sagacity may come from a place that is entangled with conflict, controversy, emotional instability, and the surreal, hyperreal, hallucinatory receptors of the mind. It explores the illusion of the individual trapped in the phalanx of society, moving forward, backward and sideways all at once. It is an overwhelming cry for life and freedom, an escape from a world trapped under its own weight.”

Loop 2.4.3’s sound is rooted in classical chamber music, but with psychedelic rock, jazz, and improvisation influences, stemming from Thomas’ upbringing playing in garage bands, metal bands, thrash bands, and jazz bands in Michigan. I might describe it as minimalism meets heavy metal meets techno DJ beats. “Art music” is how Thomas best describes it, and goes on to say, “It’s definitely longer listening than pop music. It takes time to build, but then you get the reward. I suggest you turn it up really f*ing loud (laughing).” Agreed! The opening track, “Out to War,” is anything but a subtle introduction. The opening throaty, dark, repetitive “Mind Control” chanting hearkens back to acidic rock from the past, but soon breaks free to ambient piano, steel drums, and textures that are beautiful, calming, and serene.

The use of human voice is eerie and captivating throughout the disc. Events in Thomas’ life inspired the lyrics, but tie into broader topics. Stay tuned for the full scores with lyrics which will soon be available from MusicStartsFromSilence.com. Voice sampling opens “MK Ultra,” unfolding in a long form to cascading, pattering, sounds of the marimba that interweaves with the voice and flow back into the keyboard percussion.  The title track, clocking in at a significant length of 12 minutes, was the genesis for the body of work and holds the foundation of instrumentation, sounds, and approach. The voice is presented differently here, in single-word, echoing samples from this poem by Thom:

“Stories of power, control, love, and enlightenment are a constant in the history of man. Our idea of TIME is shaped by personal and cultural events.

The history of man floats in the ether of deep SPACE. We must venture there, to learn the secrets of our elders.”

While much of the material in this work has a rather dark quality, “Moving Finger of Time” has a lighter feel to it – more straight-ahead in form and with a bit of humour. The final track in the collection, ironically called “Prelude (for Sophia)” brings the distortion of time full circle. The dedication to Sophia means something to Thomas, like much of the other music here “is open for immersive experience and interpretation.”

Ultimately, I was curious about Thomas’ goal with Time-Machine_music. His response? “I’m not sure it’s about a specific accomplishment. The need to create and express things is most important. I suppose I hope to share it with people. Maybe the biggest accomplishment would be keeping my sanity by spending time working through things and being absorbed in the music. I hope that people will listen to it and know that it’s okay to feel things…to confront the darkness but also to see the beauty. Sometimes the world makes you want to scream… and sometimes maybe you should.”

Whether you scream, cry, laugh, it’s always better out than in. Go forth and express!