Curt Oren – Playing with Your Food Series
Public Space One – Friday, January 31 at 7 p.m.
“Have you ever heard of Colin Stetson?” is a question that Iowa City’s Curt Oren probably hears a lot. Oren plays looping experimental saxophone pieces similar to Stetson’s — strange and difficult and chaotic and all powered with non-stop circular breathing.
But whereas Stetson’s music is marked by an intense seriousness, Oren is unabashedly goofy and sincere. Though the avant-garde world and twee music rarely intersect, he effortlessly marries the two on his latest album I LOVE MY DOG — and that’s not just because of the all caps title or even because he sells homemade cookies on his bandcamp page.
No, Oren’s greatest trick is in making his physically and compositionally demanding songs all look easy. There’s an accessibility to songs like “Everything’s Gonna Be OK” and “This World” that’s deeply compelling. And though his pieces frequently veer into loud and powerful places as they go on, they also hook you in with their deceptive simplicity. If Oren continues to push himself the way that he does, don’t be surprised if another young experimental saxophonist gets asked “Have you ever heard of Curt Oren?”
The release show for I LOVE MY DOG was scheduled for January 6, but was cancelled because of inclement weather. It’s been rescheduled for January 31, at Public Space One.