Dither, you is awesome!

While thinking of a proper intro for Dither, we were tempted to pull out a thesaurus and just use as many synonyms for the word “eclectic” as possible, as long as it made a modicum of grammatical sense, like some strangely earnest reviewers will sometimes do. Say, something like: Dither, a motley musical group of diverse and wide-ranging tastes and sensibilities, creates unique and multifarious musical performances that are varied in scope, interdisciplinary in style, and kaleidoscopic in texture.

Er, yeah.

All that silliness aside, Dither is a pretty unique quartet and they create music you’ve never heard before. Maybe it’s just our limitations as writers, but it really is hard to capture what they do without venturing into some overly verbose territory, so we’ll let their work speak for itself!

They’ll be playing the Bang on a Can marathon on Sunday, May 31st at the World Financial Center Winter Garden. With 12 hours of music, Bang on a Can itself is a pretty awesome event. Founded in 1987, Bang on a Can has been exposing audiences to the “unknown and unconventional” for over two decades. Check ’em out!

Photo by Emily Weidenhof

YouIsAwesome: What’s your least favorite curse word?
Dither: Damn – what a shitty word!

YIA: You guys have a really cool press photo, where your eyes are “censored” by a fretboard. I have this really strange urge to reach into the photo and straighten out the various fretboards. Do you guys find that urge strange?
D: Yes, but we’re glad you like it! All of our design work is done by the amazing Emily Weidenhof at www.leaninggusset.com.

YIA: You guys are on stage and the passionate, raucous fans have been so moved that they demand one of you to smash one of your guitars to pieces on stage. Whose guitar do you choose and why?
D: Probably David Linaburg’s, just because he’s the new guy and he’s pretty easy going – his guitar is a model of a road-worn telecaster that looks pretty beat up anyway. On that note, Josh’s modified Yamaha Pacifico has a nice smashed-up look to it too. We all kind of beat up our guitars in various ways as we search for new sounds, so this idea wouldn’t be totally out of the question, as long as it has some sort of interesting musical effect.

YIA: James, what advice do you have for young male guitarists out there who also wish to grow a beard?
D: As with guitar playing, or really anything in life, growing a proper beard takes commitment and dedication. While some may have the natural ability to grow facial hair quickly, they will often recklessly shave and trim at the slightest whim. It is really those individuals that have spent time training a few feeble hairs into a glorious scraggly mane who have earned the right to be truly identified by their beard, and they will harvest the fruit of its rewards.

YIA: How well does the word “dither” capture the spirit of your music?
D: Well, it turns our Dither means a lot of things. We originally chose the name because it is a technical term for “intentially applied distortion” that is used when editing both images and audio. However, it has a variety of other meanings including “to tremble and quiver”, “nervous agitation”, and “indecisiveness.” All of these terms can certainly apply to our group!

YIA: What’s something about the world that gives you guys hope?
D: I think we are all in agreement that Eric km Clark gives us hope. Eric is a long time Dither collaborator and friend with an amazingly refreshing musical approach. He manages to get people to listen to his incredibly strange ideas, while always keeping things entertaining and beautiful. Incidentally, he is also very committed to his beard.

Eric’s most notorious musical method is “hearing deprivation.” In this practice, all the performers of a piece are deprived of hearing through the use of earplugs and cup-headphones, which playback white noise at a high volume. This makes it nearly impossible for an individual player to effectively coordinate with the ensemble or to judge his or her own sound. Furthermore, all the players are playing the same exact part. As a result, the music begins in unison, and slowly drifts away into hypnotizing hermetic canons and driving sections of oddly flowing chaos.

Which brings us to a shameless plug: We’ll be playing Eric’s epic piece “exPAT” on May 31 on the Bang on a Can Marathon, which will be performed by at least 10 hearing deprived electric guitarists. This an awesome all-day festival at the World Financial Center’s Winter Garden, and we are playing around 1:30 pm. Come check it out!

YIA: What do you have to say to people who say that they don’t “get” experimental music?
D: Our advice . . . is to keep listening! As with any label, the term “experimental” can mean a lot of things. To us, it is not limited to any genre or aesthetic. When we us this term we are simply referring to music that is explorative and risk-taking. In this way, without experimental music, we wouldn’t have Bach, Miles Davis, Steve Reich, Led Zeppelin, or Bjork. Just like anything, you’re not going to like all that you hear. However, If you are in any way intrigued by a sound, process, or dramatic effect of a piece, we think it is always worth your time to listen closer and dig deeper.


~ by youisawesome on May 26, 2009.

%d bloggers like this: