Arbouretum, Apothecary Hymns, and Insect Factory Live
As part of an eclectic and dynamic quadruple bill, the fair citizens of Charlottesville, Virginia were treated to a veritable marathon of musical offerings on January 18 2007 at the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar.
The show began with Insect Factory, a drone outfit from D.C., featuring members of the psyche collective Kohoutek joined for this show by prolific out-rocker Mike Tamburo. Their command over the atmosphere was immediate and unrelenting. It was a fruitful, beautifully haunting drone, accented by an array of bells and cymbals. The static hum was varied with occasional abstract guitar leads as a slow flux unfurled.
Alexander Stimmel, aka Apothecary Hymns was up next. Alex taps into the more lyrical elements of the psychedelic legacy.
His recorded works, for Locust Records, are much more epic (with full band and complex instrumentations) than his solo set, but no message was lost as Apothecary Hymns is all about story-telling. The intimate presentation of
these songs worked well and continued to enchant the audience who was barely half-way through this epic evening.
Label mates Function, were up next. (See previous feature for details and interview with Function's Matt Nicholson.) They were completely captivating.
The final act of the night, Arbouretum, capped the night off with apt ceremony. Their sound was thick, heavy, dark, ominous, folky, a bit trippy, and very authentic. I thought once, during the set about the Book of Revelation. Recently alligned with the Thrill Jockey label, Arbouretum is a Baltimore, Maryland super-group. David Heumann, is the primary vocalist and "frontman". He is also in the band Human Bell and has worked with the Anomoanon and Bonnie "Prince" Billy in past. All members of this band are vastly talented. We found out late night after the venue closed that guitarist Walker Teret is a complete shredder on the banjo and picks and sings mountain music with uncanny grace and beauty.
As a confirmed "musiholic", or addict to live and recorded music, I can say without doubt that this quadruple bill was one of the best fixes I've received in quite a long while.
Matthew R. Clark January 2007