Windows with Temples and Epileptinomicon at Ash From Sweat House, 2/26/11

Tom Murphy
With Temples and Epileptinomicon
Ash From Sweat House | February 26, 2011

The flier for this show said, in no uncertain terms, "NO COPS" and, as it turns out, none did appear to show up at the house where the event was being held. It was mostly an intimate gathering of friends of Dan Phelps who helps to run the DIY label, Ash From Sweat, and others who have embraced the more experimental end of the hardcore and experimental music scenes of the last decade in Denver.

Tom Murphy
The show proper took place in the basement of the house and Temples, aka Kevin Richards started things off. Dispensing with the stereo amp set-up and electric guitars generally for this show, favoring instead his twelve-string acoustic, Richards set the mood by setting out small candles, the kind with the thin, cup-like aluminum bases, and burning a stick of incense. When Richards plays, it isn't some straight ahead acoustic singer-songwriter sort of thing. This is a guy steeped in jazz and the avant-garde with a working knowledge of esoteric chord structures. But instead of using that knowledge to show off how much he knows, Richards always seems to have an ear for the emotional impact of music.

This two-song set found Richards exploring a moody side of his songwriting with deep drones underneath introspective melodies that seemed to embody the candlelit intimacy of the room. He also made use of non-verbal vocals and vibrato as though whistling, while distorting the sound with his tongue. It would be tempting to make a comparison between this music and Slint's Spiderland for its dusky and haunting beauty but it had more in common with the less electronically-inflected side of Grouper. Or a For Octavio Paz-era Six Organs of Admittance.

Tom Murphy

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