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Here’s something to make your day/week better. Put aside whatever current political/financial/weather based misery is grinding your teeth and soak up the whole of Thor & Friends set from their show last November at The Star and Garter in Manchester captured by the good people of IMPATV.

Thor Harris is probably still best known for his time as percussionist in the expansive noise rock juggernaut Swans, although he has also played with many other musicians. After leaving Swans five years ago it seemed he felt ready to start his own band. Thor & Friends is a kind of open ended project, usually configured as a small chamber group, based around the flowing, chiming, polyrhythms of marimba, xylophone and vibraphone. In contrast with Swans it is delicate and hopeful. If you’ve missed out on them so far, here’s a perfect opportunity to catch up.

Drawing on the work of Terry Riley and Steve Reich their music experiments with the forms and structures of American Minimalism. It’s not a vehicle for performing canonical works rather, through collaboration with a shifting family of Austin musicians, they’ve developed something like a folk expression of those ideas. A kind of minimalism made by hand in Thor’s woodwork shop rather than constructed with the discipline of New York art music.

The core trio is Thor, Peggy Ghorbani and Sarah ‘Goat’ Gautier but expands and contracts to allow for different possibilities. They were joined on this tour by Simon Goff on Violin and Chris Cundy on woodwind.

Live at the Star & Garter, Manchester 19/11/2019

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