Liminal Phase release a new album at Bryant Lake Bowl

Look up the term liminal phase on Wikipedia and you will be met with the meaning: The transition (liminal) phase is the period between states, during which one has left one place or state but hasn't yet entered or joined the next.  

Minneapolis band Liminal Phase's music shares many of the same qualities as its wiki definition. "As a musician, one of the cool things I would say about this project is surrender," says bandleader Adam Levy. "A lot of times in bands there is a sense of a leader and someone who is calling the shots. In this band, for me, it's about saying, 'Look at all these other ideas. Where is that going to make you go?' and allowing this band to create a sort of living animal every time we play a song."

Liminal Phase is an amalgam of Twin Cities artists looking to create music comprising of


(Honeydogs, Hookers $ Blow, Bunny Clogs) on guitar,

Lisa Hirst Carnes

(DNL) on harmonium and oboe,

Daniel Zamzow

(Cloud Cult, Molly Dean, Deep Soul Dieties) on cello, percussion, and bass guitar,

DeVon Gray

(Heiruspecs, Cherry Spoon Composers Orchestra) on bassoon and keyboard,

Nathan Brende

(PRPLZebras, Terr the Om) handling the electronic music, and

Joey Van Phillips

(Dessa, A. Wolf and Her Claws) on percussion. 

Levy shares that he'd always felt the things that are collectively created in the group are what make it distinctive and unique.

"We started out by playing more canned pieces where someone would bring in a song, then it turned into a this whole new project," he says. "The meanderings of the songs would be determined by the performance. I think that the since time has gone on and the residency [at Cause] in August has made us realize in a lot of ways it was really enjoyable to not have any of those constraints -- literally have somebody start playing an idea and the band will find a tonal center and people will start coming up with ideas and start riffing off each other. It's really about listening; there's a kind of dance going on between all the players when we can hear each other at its best."

The task of figuring out the pieces for the album fell to Daniel Zamzow sifting through hours of material to find the right pieces on what sounded right. Zamzow says, "I took those ideas of what we had, which was multiple takes of those ideas, and one in particular was 'Quantum Entanglement.' The second track has two appendices which refer to the same progression as an example of how we roll with these ideas. It's a good example of the process."

Liminal Phase release a new album at Bryant Lake Bowl

With the music being created on the fly and no performance being entirely the same, Levy says, "While recording, we would go into the session with the idea of creating on the spot and the tape is rolling. It's like, 'Oh, the tape is rolling? Let's just start playing.' And things sort of evolve where somebody might introduce some sort of musical idea or texture. A lot of times it's really about the bed texture and people start playing with that and then these songs develop a short evolutionary life as we're playing." A few pieces on the album, "Etudes" and "Rhapsody," were actually warm-up pieces leading up to more structured pieces while recording. 

Hirst Carnes shares that creating in the moment is "more fun. Joey says that it takes the pressure off. In recording and other context, you have a take and you do twenty four takes. You'd be playing the same part twenty four different times and it maybe got a half percent better, and the love for the part was lost. The passion kind of dwindled, so this is really fun, just to keep that kind of passion alive longer."

The project started out as a structured band with parts and measures pivoting naturally when Nathan Brende came on board with his whole arsenal of sounds. "The environment heavily influences where we take things," Brende says. "We match the vibes of our surroundings in a way because we're making it up as we go, as well as trying to influence from each other."

"There's a lot of similarities between what we're doing now and what Miles Davis was doing in '69," Gray adds. "He would just get up on onstage and play. 'What was that called?' Call it whatever you want. Often the material determines when it's done. The music has these natural breaks. Like Adam said, you can pick up on a where a new movement begins or the definitive end. We look around and smile at each other...we'll look at our drink situation."

When asked about marketing, Adam shares, "It's one of those things where people are going to get it or not.  We don't spend a lot of time worrying about 'What's the PR for this particular thing going to be?' In a lot of ways that's liberating because it really puts a lot in the lap of the listener. It feels like something very new sounding...for lack of a better word, experimental.  People will gravitate towards that kind of thing; other people will say, 'I don't get it,' and that's that."

Liminal Phase 8-30-11 Cause Set 2 by LiminalPhase

Even with the album still in its first stages of release, the band already has goals for the next step: a remix version.  "We have some goals for the band, and one of the goals is to have the entire album remixed," Gray says, mentioning that they'd like to bring on board Grant Cutler, James Patrick, Danny Sigelman, and Dosh, to name a few. Levy adds, "We're going to be big in Berlin -- without having to go there."

Liminal Phase will release Liminal Phase - LP at Bryant Lake Bowl with opener Jame Patrick Thursday, November 3, 2011. 18+, $8 adv, $10 door, 10 pm.

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