boston (+prov!) // animal hospital

December 3, 2011 § 1 Comment

I do love when someone else writes for me. Hello Brian Rusnica, soon I’m gonna change your last name to “Pilgrim”…

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First – some basic information: Animal Hospital is a solo recording and performance project, created by Boston’s Kevin Micka. Mr. Micka has made several names for himself; first, as an incredible drummer (The Common Cold, 2000-2004), and then as an outstanding recording engineer (Helms, Ho-Ag, Viva Viva, Conversions, Neptune, etc.) and repeatedly as an indispensable repair-er of all things amplifying.

Of Animal Hospital’s three official releases, the 2009 album Memory is by far the most acclaimed and intricate piece of work. The album was widely lauded by all sorts of independent music blogs and made plenty of year-end lists as a can’t-miss listen.

And stylistically, all of Animal Hospital’s music is a multi-instrumental, all-analog composition of loops and effects that slowly cycle to deposit layer after layer of building sound. In particular, Memory alternates between bold, wide-open expanses and tiny handfuls of structure. Each repeating phrase seems to corrupt ever-so-slightly and shift the tiniest bit, like an actual memory replayed over and over in the mind, with the details getting both embellished and faded over time.

Being a literal one-man band is sort of a medium-is-message arrangement. Half the fun of seeing an Animal Hospital performance is watching Micka manipulate his arsenal of instruments: piles of pedals and consoles, a guitar, a small drum set and a quarter mile of cable. Every loop is built from scratch, shaped and re-shaped until it fits somewhere in the experiment.

That’s what should make this weekend’s Animal Hospital Ensemble shows (Saturday in Pawtucket, Sunday in Boston) really fascinating. While we can only speculate as to what 30 musicians performing Memory will entail (how do you even practice this?) – it’s safe to assume some degree of iterating will be passed from pedals to persons. 22 Guitarists, 6 String players, and 2 drummers, arranged in a circle around the audience, will join Micka for what promises to be an epic surrounded sound experience. And, as if the concept wasn’t cool enough, the Ensemble’s collective resume of bands-founded and records-engineered includes some of the most influential art-rock music from New England in the last 10 years.

Sat Dec 3rd – Machines with Magnets, Pawtucket RI – 8pm – $8 – All Ages
Sun Dec 4th – Mass Art’s Pozen Center – 6pm – $10 All Ages
More details and full Ensemble lineup if you’d like
Stream Memory here!

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§ One Response to boston (+prov!) // animal hospital

  • james says:

    The prov show was the highlight of, my, live show year.

    The print Dan Mccarthy made for the show is beautiful as well.

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