An Evening With Noah & Abby Gundersen

Sun King Brewery & MOKB Present

An Evening With Noah & Abby Gundersen

Field Report (solo)

Thu, March 9, 2017

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$15.00

Off Sale

This event is 21 and over

Seated show.

Noah Gundersen
Noah Gundersen
WHITE NOISE

In America today, anyone can engage in spiritual surrender. Performing the rite is simple: one first gathers with their community in a room of mirrors (in peripheral vision these mirrors appear as windows). Next, the agendas, hopes, and grievances of each individual are written down and cast along pulsed radio frequencies to data centers. From here they are automatically sifted through a neural network of graphics processing units, and contributed to an artificial intelligence engine. The principal aim of the ritual is to preserve the cosmic movement of collective perception. Secondary aims include catharsis, prosperity, and (occasionally) procreation. Because of the persistence of social stresses and mounting political dread, the ritual’s cyclic performance is necessary (twice daily, once at dusk and once at dawn).

Paradoxically, even those who question the efficacy of this tradition must do so from within the same framework, in the form of status updates, tweets, or blog posts. In the early part of 2017 Noah wrote:

“This is our voice. The Aether. An invisible platform. A maze of wires and boxes safely containing our proclamations… While white men with pens close their doors, stuff their ears with cotton, and break the world… we piss in the ocean… we drown in white noise.”

(Once upon a time, Noah Gundersen poetically sang that the storms which make us tremble also “fill our organs up with air,”…allowing us to sing “honest songs”. What of our songs now? Are they just piss in the ocean? White Noise?)

A longtime fan responded via Facebook, referring to the entry as “a goddamn dumpster fire of a post”.

“Your early records are masterpieces,” he commented, “…but this scramble to be anything but what your parents are is killing your authenticity.”

Authenticity can be a fickle mistress it seems. Noah has been peddling sincerity and introspection in musical form for almost a decade; songs that give listeners a taste of the emotional nectar in the pit of another human’s gut. He’s been dredging up viscous fistfulls of his own being and shaping them into little waxen votives, candles meant to illuminate the territory between shameless confession and hopeless redemption, for all of the other twenty-somethings who’ve been groping around in that long existential shadow.

At some point this whole process must have lost its charm. It was two years ago that Noah, like some artistic ouroboros, began to sing the words “Am I earning the right to live by looking in a mirror? There’s nothing more sincere than selfish art?” The cyclic ritual of self-induced nausea, staring in the mirror mouth agape, waiting to wretch new words and sounds, was catching up with him. Not long after, in the early part of 2016, he sat down for a show and felt like he was dying.
“Instead of my life up to that point flashing before my eyes, it was my future. A future playing songs I didn’t believe in… pouring my soul out into a vehicle I no longer recognized or loved.”

Noah turned to a fellow songwriter, who shared this mote of reassurance from dancer and choreographer Martha Graham:

“No artist is pleased… There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

This crisis was an opportunity for the serpent to relinquish hold of its own tail, for forward motion. To turn his gaze away from reflection, and maybe instead at the mirror itself, alternate voices and distorted perceptions that throw their weight onto the human psyche in powerful ways, but evade expression in introspective storytelling.

So, that’s White Noise, I think: the fluorescent glow of queer divine dissatisfaction. The distorted buzz manufactured by dumb metal phalluses thrust into a vacuum of waves and signals. It doesn’t dwell on (and in fact seems uninterested in) introspection. Not a guiding light. Not the reasoned problem-solving of the ego, but the muddled demands of the id. It’s a myriad of interpolated signals, symbols, and voices, like a tube-TV greedily flipping through channels on auto-program:

“Heavy Metals” is cosmic dismay that’s been pasted over with a sugary synth veneer. “Cocaine, Sex, and Alcohol (From a Basement in L.A.)”, like a messy public broadcast, leverages a din of drunken band sounds and disoriented muttering, “I’ve got all this alcohol… do you wanna see my show?”

The decadent yearning of “Bad Desire” sits between the other songs of dissolution like a soap opera broadcasting alongside the evening news. Just as Noah finishes crooning the final honey-sweet chorus, “…and I wanna see you tonight, one last time,” we transition into night sweats, the frantic yelling of sleep terrors, all heralding the cathartic industrial funeral dirge of “Wake Me Up, I’m Drowning”.

Noah is no longer lighting votives, but dumpster fires—big, bright, symbolic and chaotic. Musical vignettes of combustion, rubbish, degeneracy and, perhaps most comfortingly, warmth; because sometimes overlooked in the mad grasping for heady, introspective Authenticity is music that’s heartfelt. In “The Sound”, Noah scourges a source of entitlement that is entirely ambiguous, but does so with a sort of exasperated conviction that is only ever reserved for one’s nation, one’s God, or one’s self. The words “How many times will you shit on what you’re given? How many times till you shut up and listen?” escape his throat with a desperation that (bafflingly) surpasses even his most vulnerable songs about heartbreak, addiction, or loss of faith.

Whether the voices he channels are symbolic or literal, paralyzed with fear or pushing a manic brand of salvation, each amounts to something laced with warm, ruddy veins (I have a feeling that Noah’s music always will). If you listen closely you’ll hear the spiritualist, who takes solace in the fact that when he’s gone, the water in his body may be the beginning of something new. There’s also the doomsayer, certain of his fate, but still so afraid, who can’t help but ask of his own violent trembling, “Are these my feet attempting to dance?” Then there’s mortality, trying to shout through all of the noise, “Send my love to everyone.”

White Noise was produced by Nate Yaccino and features long-time band-members and collaborators Abby Gundersen, Jonny Gundersen, and Micah Simler. It will be released into the Aether on September 22nd, 2017.
Field Report (solo)
Field Report (solo)
"The body remembers what the mind forgets," Chris Porterfield reminisces on his acclaimed band Field Report's sophomore record, Marigolden. The record is strewn with references to the inevitable tolls taken by the passage of time, and prolonged distance from home and loved ones.

The past couple of years have flashed by for Porterfield, who was thrust into the spotlight after years of musical reclusion. His Milwaukee-based band, Field Report (an anagram of his surname), was culled together in the studio while recording their 2012 self-titled debut. They suddenly found themselves championed by their former idols: offered support tours by Counting Crows and Aimee Mann, lauded by the likes of Mark Eitzel and Richard Thompson, and covered by Blind Boys Of Alabama.

The band honed itself from a septet to a quartet in the year that followed, focusing its sound and tightening the screws. With a heavy batch of songs under their arms, they retreated to snowy Ontario in December 2013 to record their sophomore album,Marigolden, with the help of producer Robbie Lackritz (Feist).

Spending two years roaming around the country playing tiny venues and sold-out amphitheaters alike, Porterfield was uncertain whether he was leading the charge toward an artistic epiphany or headed down a misguided path of self-destruction. Marigoldenreflects this, as he ruminates across homesick tension and an un-grounded anxiety. But rather than wallow in melancholy, Porterfield finds solace and inspiration through his songs, which reveal themselves as uplifting and celebratory. The album is brighter than their 2012 debut, but somehow remains just as elegantly ominous.

Marigolden's second track, the surprisingly catchy radio single "Home," finds Porterfield on the road, hoping the home, wife, dog, and life he left behind in Milwaukee will still be there upon his return. "Leave the lights on," he asks, "it might be nighttime when I get there, but I'm on my way home." While the song contemplates lonesomeness, there is an undeniable sense of hope driving it. In "Summons," the penultimate track, he recalls this thought, repeating, "I'll be coming home to you" like a mantra. This sense of balance and symmetry across the album helps provide stability to the otherwise volatile themes. Case in point: the album starts with a sunrise in "Decision Day" and ends full circle with another in "Enchantment."

Whether reconsidering sobriety in "Pale Rider," sticking to tonic water in the bars of "Summons," or cashing in a 30-day chip for a kiss in "Enchantment," Porterfield's relationship with alcohol runs through the current of nearly every song. Most notably in "Ambrosia," where he find himself face to face with the reality of where his drinking is destined to lead.

The album runs the musical gamut, from the Traveling Wilburys-esque pop of "Home," to the Neil Young-inspired piano ballad "Ambrosia," to the electronic sonic landscape of "Wings." While the compositions express a wide range in terms of genre, they find unity in themselves within the limits of self-imposed minimalism. In the studio, the songs were stripped down to the bones and built back up using only their essential elements.

Sequestered in a seemingly never-ending Ontario blizzard, the band only broke from this musical process to add logs to the stove, with the snow and the fire providing a proper background for music so rooted in the elemental. The effect that this fundamentals-based approach achieves is universal: the sparse arrangements and common themes speak to everyone, but somehow feel tailored to each listener. The title itself reflects this, a portmanteau of two common images (marigold and golden) to create something that feels both idiosyncratic and familiar: Marigolden.
Venue Information:
The HI-FI
1043 Virginia Ave #4
Indianapolis, IN, 46203
http://www.hifiindy.com/