Jay Allen Sanford 1 p.m., March 21
Tim Peacock: Bass guitar | Matt Gagin: Drums, Electronics, Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric), Harmonica, Keyboards, Percussion, Vocals | Paul Balmer: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric) | Brad Botbyl: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric) | Ted Donovon: Drums
Sound description: Take Devo, round off the hard edges, and paint a watercolor sunset over the remnants using Flaming Lips pink and Postal Service blue.
RIYL: Aspects of Physics, the Mars Volta, Brian Eno, John Cage, Gary Wilson and the Blind Dates, God Speed You Black Emperor, Explosions in the Sky, Mum, Sigur Ros, Panda Bear, Her Space Holiday
- Hometown CD Review · April 23, 2008
- Street Reviews · Oct. 25, 2007
Influences: The Mars Volta, Devo, the Flaming Lips, the Postal Service, Brian Eno, M83, Ulrich Schnauss, Sigur Ros, Mum, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Brian Wilson, ELO, Dntel, Her Space Holiday, Ratatat, Aspects of Physics, Suicide, Pilotram, Disinterested, Windy and Carl, Efterklang, Erik Satie, Bob Dylan, Broken Social Scene, Sufjan Stevens
Immovable Objects started out as the performance and recording name for multi-instrumentalist Matt Gagin. After spending five years with local band Waterline Drift, Gagin says “I wanted to do something where I played a lot of different instruments and creativity wasn’t stifled by preconception or personality conflicts.”
His first record, Hoping It Stays Just This Broken, incorporated elements of indie rock, shoegaze, and electronica into dense soundscapes. “I had no intention of really making a record, I was just going to record when I felt like it and see what was coming out. If I liked it, cool, if not, then I didn’t. I was really just making music for the sake of making music.”
Ignoring convention creates the possibility of both reward and peril. It is the electronic tones, not the drums, of Immovable Objects that keep the beat, while soft atmospheric vocals enchant and keyboards plink out toy piano noise. Acoustic guitar and well-played bass ground the music, with a Fender Rhodes piano adding mellowness and melody. However, when things settle into being comfortable and familiar, Gagin ramps up the reverb noise and Pink Floydian special effects.
Gagin says noise is his specialty, citing an expertise he claims to have been born with. “I can tell you what pitch your vacuum cleaner runs at,” he says. “It isn’t really a talent. It’s what happens after you get hit in the head with a baseball at age 11 and go into a coma for 19 hours. Some sort of weird brain damage, I’m sure.”
Gagin decided to put together a live band that could play relentless instrumental rock, then capture that energy and emotion on tape. To do so, he enlisted Paul Balmer (guitar), Brad Botbyl (guitar), Ted Donovon (drums), and fellow Waterline Drift alumnus Tim Peacock (bass).
In 2012, Gagin relocated to Perth, Australia. “It was a long time coming. I was just ready to leave
and some of the things that were and are happening in the U.S. were weighing on me and I think I needed a break. My wife wanted to be near her family who live in Sydney and Perth, it wasn’t a really hard decision but it took a little time for the Australian government to decide to let me reside in their country.”
While waiting for the green light for migration, Gagin and Immovable Objects recorded I’ll Know to Believe in Sparrows, where the band explores the nuance of the album as a complete piece and the ideas of instrumental music as an emotive and visual experience. Recorded through the early months of 2012 at Black Box Studios with Mario Quintero, the album was released in June 2012 on Hawnyawk Records. Says Gagin, “I’ve read on record label websites that you should include your successes in your bio. The only true success we have is recording music that we like and not compromising it. So, if nothing else we have that.”