Square Peg Round Hole + Jonah Parzen-Johnson

Bonfire Presents:

Square Peg Round Hole + Jonah Parzen-Johnson

Trap Rabbit

Thu, July 20, 2017

8:00 pm

$10.00 - $12.00

This event is 21 and over

Square Peg Round Hole
Square Peg Round Hole
Elegant, articulate, and expansive, Juniper, the new record from instrumental percussion trio Square Peg Round Hole manages to convey – and evoke – an entire range of human emotions despite its lack of a single sung word. "Because we are an instrumental group, our hope is that people connect with the songs and assign their own meanings to them," says Evan Chapman. "Without lyrics telling the listener how to feel, it leaves the music as an open-ended question." A sonic mirror reflecting the listener's subconscious emotional state back at themselves, Juniper engages with the fundamental and primeval.

When it came time to write Juniper, the follow up to 2013's Corners, the group made a conscious effort to compose together as an ensemble. Evan Chapman, Sean M. Gill, and Carlos Pacheco-Perez split writing sessions between a cabin in rural western Maryland and a remote area of Wisconsin called Egg Harbor at farm-turned-music center Birch Creek. "There is a large, resonant space where we performed at Birch Creek called Juniper Hall," explains Chapman, "which is actually where we came up with the name for the album."

To put the new songs to tape, the band teamed up with Evan's brother Justin Chapman. With a battalion's worth of gear in tow they converted their shared house in Manayunk, PA into a proper, modern recording studio. Listening to Juniper it's almost impossible to imagine that the bulk of the recording was done live in full takes.

In the years prior to Juniper, the band spent time honing their instrumentation and specific roles within the band. As a result, Juniper feels like it was written holistically, by a cohesive creative unit; drum set, vibes, and Rhodes being the primary sound palette. The band also dove deeper into sampling and analog synthesizers with Juniper, adding further dimensionality and nuance to their work. Together Gill, Pacheco-Perez, the brothers Chapman, and mix engineer Bryan Laurenson (Copeland) created a record that speaks without words, taking listeners on a journey through the self.

The ultimate headphone record, luxurious with the energy of unison drums, or the serenity of bowed vibraphone, and the fascinating timbres of found objects/scrap metals, Juniper is a bold artist statement from a fearless creative force, at once expansive and intimate. "This is a dynamic record, with moments that are heavier, grittier, and faster than we've ever written, and others delicate, fragile and introspective," says Chapman. "We strive to make our music stimulating and intelligent. At the same time, we've found that people connect with percussion on a very primitive level, and therefore we think that there is something for all types of listeners on this record."

Square Peg Round Hole formed in 2011 while studying music at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, in Bloomington, Indiana. The band has shared bills with Built To Spill, The Album Leaf, Mae, This Will Destroy You, and The Joy Formidable, and has been featured at major venues across the country including the Electric Factory, Le Poisson Rouge, Old National Centre, and the World Café Live.
Jonah Parzen-Johnson (Album Release)
Jonah Parzen-Johnson (Album Release)
I think it’s worthwhile for those of us who devote our lives to making stuff, to be sure we ask ourselves why we’re spending our time this way. Each of us is a collection of gravitations. In my first saxophone lesson with Mwata Bowden, my baritone saxophone hero, and one of Chicago’s creative leaders, he told me, “we call it Creative Music, because…”. All I heard was “we”. Community. An important reminder that Creative Music was about more than a style, or a skill. It is part of a movement that exists in concert with American history, and a tradition of explosive creativity in response to deep hardship. That “we” is important to me. Something to respect, and place above other things.

Community is a funny thing to think about when standing on a stage by myself getting ready to play a solo saxophone set. Experimental music can feel very isolating, but it doesn’t have to be. I think a lot about sound as I build each piece of music using extended saxophone techniques, and carefully assembled analog synthesizer components that breath and pulse with my wiry saxophone melodies. I find joy in the craft, but beyond that, I aim to make something that if placed in the right context, can tell a story that each person in the room can connect with. Something simple, and honest enough, that although it might be painful, it can resonate with anyone.

I’ve lived in Brooklyn NY since 2006, but I was very lucky to grow up on the Southside of Chicago, surrounded by incredible musicians that I met at Jazz clubs, studied with, and saw around my neighborhood. They defined my musical world, were receptive to my curiosity, and deeply supportive as I honed my musical voice. The title of this album, I Try To Remember Where I Come From, is a direct expression of my gratitude, but, on a deeper level, it is a reminder that I have taken inspiration from a tradition that isn’t rooted in my own experience. It is a pattern repeated regularly in American music history. Something that I think about a lot.

In many ways, Black American music is a response to an environment of exclusion, oppression, and institutional silencing that I, a white American man, have not, and will never experience. Despite this fact, throughout my teenage years, Black musicians in Chicago shared their traditions, their gatherings, their bandstands, their living rooms, and their musical incites with me in a generous, and enduring way. I find it deeply humbling that a community that formed, in part, to protect its members from an environment where everything could be taken from them, is also one of the most generous sources of creativity and inspiration in American art. I think this generosity deserves music that is loyal to the truth behind the tradition. I wrote these songs because I care about the people who own that tradition, and who forged it as a tool of inclusion. I seek to honor their battle for institutional recognition, and racial equality, with every show I play, and everything that I make. Their fight continues today, and deserves all of our attention.
Trap Rabbit
Trap Rabbit
Biography
Keys // Logan Roth
Drms // Arjun Dube

Two dudes playing beats with some spank on the side.
Venue Information:
MilkBoy
1100 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19107