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Classical 101

Avant-Garde, Post-Minimalist Percussion: Tigue Comes Home to Play

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The members of Tigue, the Columbus-raised Brooklyn-bound percussion trio, mix work with play naturally.

The cool kids are coming home to Columbus from Brooklyn and Seattle these days, and the members of the art-rock band/new music ensemble/avant-garde trio, Tigue are on their way this week.

http://youtu.be/bqQx6MCNJaQ

It's no secret that many of Columbus's most talented musicians and artists leave the nest at some point to harbor in New York, Chicago, and the West Coast, but something about this city seems to call them back pretty regularly.

The members of Tigue-- graduates of the Eastman School of Music and the Ohio State University-- are no exception. Amy Garapic, Matt Evans, and Carson Moody frequently perform on New York City stages such as Le Poisson Rouge, the Knitting Factory, and Roulette, but this week they will be back home courtesy of the Johnstone Fund for New Music to play at the Short North Stage. And the show is completely free of charge.

If you had the pleasure of attending this year's Drums Downtown, you should be familiar with the group and their aesthetic. One of their defining elements, along with each member's impeccable sense of timing and ... 

anticipation, is their sense of play. 

Percussion has a tendency to seem regimented and concrete to many musicians and audiences, but these artists know how to find the softer, and often more subtle side of the mallet. The concept of play, in this light especially, is actually remarkably old and powerful. 

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The individual members know how to work, and even speak, together.

I wanted to know if this sense of precision in play was purposeful or if it was just my coffee-addled mind, so I called the band up on their way to a show this morning.

The three of them sounded remarkably chipper and awake for having driven from New York to Columbus to Chicago and back to Columbus all in four days. The group was on their way to play two shows for the entire student body of Columbus's Arts and College Preparatory Academy (ACPA) school and to give a sort of studio for the percussion students. 

They know the power of music education firsthand, since all three admitted that their participation in OSU's Drums Downtown impacted their current work greatly.

When I asked about their sense of play, thankfully, all three of them knew just what I meant;

"Our compositions tend to be like number games and the goal of the game is to line up together... It really is a constant state of play; we sort of give eye winks and head-nods to keep together, you know?" One of them shouted towards Amy Garapic's cell phone as they drove. Turns out it was Carson Moody.

"Yeah, we definitely have a sense of play, " Matt chimed in, "We play with the material in our show, like the form of the set structure is based on the environment where we are going to play. Should it be more rock and roll or chamber music, you know? There's also a very childlike play for us to reorder and structure the set for each show to make it fit."

Obviously, this concept fit their dynamic. Even as they answered, there were few pauses between the members of the ensemble; they know exactly how to fit together in turns without any rush or speaking over one another. 

"When we do compose, a lot of it is us playing in the studio. There's no writing it down on manuscript paper and then bringing it for everyone to play; it's more like someone says, 'I have this idea,' and then Carson and I might try things over Matt's idea and we try things against each other and throw in rhythms that work." Amy finished. 

It makes total sense that these musicians blend their performances with education and outreach, with this concept of organic creation in mind. The members of Tigue have partnered with Rhythm at Rikers  program to bring music to prison inmates as a sort of music therapy/education/performance group for the prisoners. There is something healing and rebuilding about creativity, and these three ooze it.

After we talked about play and even how Amy's time spent playing soccer and Carson's love of the Gaga modern dance movement, I asked how they define their trio; is it a band? They certainly sounded like a band in a van on their way to a show. Or are they more of a classical ensemble gone rogue?

The three of them - with sort of a blended voice, honestly - came to the conclusion that their music happens organically and they take it wherever it can fit in. "The term band can be scary for some people. When that is the case, we play something more concert hall-esque for them." I think Amy said that amidst the hive mind.

So, there you have it. They're organic. They're playful yet clearly talented and organized. Their game runs with the mechanics of barlines and intuition, and you can go see them in action Wednesday night at the Short North Stage at 7pm.

After you join us for a cocktail at Ethel's first, of course. 

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Be sure to catch Tigue one night only at the Short North Stage, Wednesday, September 9th at 7:00PM.