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McMenamins Music

303 S.W. 12th Ave., Portland, OR 97205

Friday, January 20, 2017

There Is No Mountain

Ryan Sollee (of The Builders and the Butchers)

7 p.m.
Free
21 and over

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There Is No Mountain

There Is No Mountain is a Portland-based duo that combines percussion, guitar, and an affinity for vocal harmony to create a unique brand of pop with intricate, world-music-influenced arrangements.  The band's subtly virtuosic style has been compared in print to current acts like The Dirty Projectors and Avett Brothers and classics like Paul Simon's Graceland, but it is perhaps more telling that reviewers have tried to peg the duo's musical influences in genres ranging from jazz to folk, classical to psychedelic rock, and world music to doom metal (all are correct!).  Kali and Matt usually just call it "pop with a short attention span".

TINM's live set-up is an exercise in multitasking - the duo sings nearly everything in harmony while Kali plays a medley of tom drums and percussive instruments, and Matt animates his acoustic guitar using nimble fingers and a bunch of carefully chosen effect pedals.  African rhythms, jazz harmonies, shape-shifting arrangements, theatrical melodies, and psychedelic swirls seep through the americana exterior, making the live show a total surprise to any first-timer.  In 2013, There Is No Mountain played 122 shows and slept in most of the continental states, and they plan on releasing some new road-tested material as soon as possible.

Ryan Sollee (of The Builders and the Butchers)

Ryan Sollee (of The Builders and the Butchers)

Ryan Sollee, lead singer of The Builders and the Butchers, has been endlessly touring throughout the last few years. From his beginnings playing on rainy Portland streets for random passersby, to the early unplugged Mississippi Pizza and Valentines' shows, to the last three years of endless touring - Ryan and the band live and die for their connection with the audience. Whether playing bar gigs for 50 people or opening arena shows for 3000, Ryan builds a connection with the audience every time he takes the stage.

The Builders went into the studio with the idea of peeling back layers to where the essence of the song lies, and to try and finally fully encapsulate their raucous, impassioned live show. Joining up with Adam Selzer (The Decemberists, M. Ward, She & Him), who worked on their sophomore album Salvation is a Deep Dark Well, and engineer Dylan Magierek (Mark Kozelek, Starfucker, Thao Nguyen), the band created their third album, Dead Reckoning, using the recording style of the 1950s and 1960s, where the magic of a song was captured by the band playing together live and with minimal overdubbing. The Builders tracked almost all of Dead Reckoning in live takes, with Ryan handling vocals and guitar in one room and the rest of the band playing in the other. With tracking and mixing taking a total of only eight days, the energy and intensity of time spent in the studio is immediately apparent on each song.

"In the studio, the most difficult element for a band to achieve is a fusion of the live performance with the recording. The act of recording is quiet, serene, and controlled - the opposite experience of a live show. Sound engineers, studio builders and audiophiles work their hardest to make a ‘dead room' to record in," says Ryan. "It's no wonder so few records capture a band's true identity."

Dead Reckoning is an age-old method of sea navigation that involves using past position, speed, and drift to calculate current and future location. Dead Reckoning, with its classic, timeless sound, is a measure of where the band and its music, as well as these times in which we live, have been, are now, and where it all might be going. "I thought it would be a perfect title for the album given its stripped down sound, and how most of these songs tell stories, many of which are set in the past, " Ryan reveals. "Like our previous records, the settings of the songs follow a few main ideas: the father and the son, early 1900s America, absolute good and evil, addiction, and religion. On this album, I really thought a lot about the end of the world and the dark times we live in, how the feelings we feel and the world we experience is not that different from 1930s America, and I thought about the music that was created at that time. This is where the inspiration for these songs originated."

The Builders and the Butchers have had the opportunity to tour with Heartless Bastards, Portugal. The Man, Amanda Palmer, Brand New, and Murder By Death, to name a few.

website:
http://thebuildersandthebutchers.com/

myspace:
http://www.myspace.com/thebuildersandthebutchers

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About Al's Den

Head downstairs at the Crystal Hotel to hang out in this music venue named for Al Winter, Portland's gambling overlord who, in the 1940s, managed his vast empire that spanned the Pacific Northwest and into Las Vegas from this very location. Today, we hold live music, artist residencies, pre- and post-concert performances and more. 

 


 

 

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