FMWT #20: Louise Bock w/ Ramin Roshandel
Trumpet Blossom Cafe — Saturday, May 4 at 9 p.m., tickets $8
Saturday, May 4 will bring vocalist and instrumentalist Louise Bock to Trumpet Blossom in Iowa City as part of the Feed Me Weird Things listening series. Working through a combo of improvisation and original melodies on a variety of instruments (such as cello, lap harp, sax and clarinet) as well as her own voice, Bock’s unique take on song structure and multi-instrumentality allow her to create soundscapes that are intensely layered.
“Even as a child, I taught myself and played on as many instruments [as] I could get my hands on,” Bock said in a recent conversation. “My sisters oboe, my mom’s flute, my dad’s guitar, the amazing plug-in air organ — and saxophone as a kid.”
“I think for me playing so many instruments fulfills my inner nature to explore,” she continued, “but also I just simply find it a bit problematic … I find myself juggling so many inspirations it can be a bit much sometimes. Perhaps I spread myself too thin, but I never get bored.”
In terms of staving off boredom, the past year has been teeming with activity for Bock, including the release of her most recent solo project, Repetitives in Illocality, in May 2018.
¨I took a really long time deciding what I wanted to publish for that album,” Bock said. “I discovered I wanted to use long form concepts, instead of songs with hooks, and that I wanted to try to use formats that allowed for loose improvising within the structures.¨
Swirling, meandering and highly experimental, Bock’s recent work challenges what we might expect of music by breaking form, allowing itself to take on the identities, emotions and realities that Bock herself embodies.
¨It took awhile for me to release myself from more rigid structures. It was like a habit,” Bock said. “Each of the four ‘songs’ is similar in that vein of long-form, loose structure, but working within concepts.¨
While she is currently touring for her solo projects, she has continued sharing new music with her band, Spires That in the Sunset Rise, which kicked off the very first season of Feed Me Weird Things in May of 2017. They will be touring throughout May and June this year with music from their new album, House Ecstatic (Cover your Blood).
She has also recently collaborated with a number of other intensely distinctive groups, such as San Francisco’s Dire Wolves, while also working on her own new instrumental music, to be produced soon.
“I actually feel a bit overwhelmed by all the things going on,” Bock said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever had more prolific year.”
Bock’s personal brand of atonal, layered, dreamlike melodies are achieved through her multi-instrumentality and unique brand of artistic expression.
“It’s sort of just intrinsic. It would be like saying, ‘Why do you like apples over oranges?’ … You could say it tastes good, or you like the texture, but that really doesn’t explain it,” Bock said. “I like all kinds of music, so why I choose to play this kind is perhaps because I find it the most challenging at this time in my life.”
“I’ve played in punk rock bands, and I’ve tried writing pop music as well,” she continued. “It’s important to write a kind of music that you feel comfortable performing and playing over and over again”
She has only recently started releasing music as Louise Bock. Previous incarnations of her project have included Taralie Peterson and Tar Pet.
“[Bock] was my mother’s mother’s maiden name, and I wanted to start under a new sobriquet as a point of departure from the past and rebirth. But I always build upon the past! There is probably no way not to.”
Under any moniker, Bock’s set will surely be a break from the expected — and a deep dive into an abstract musical experience.