Friday Five: Project 206, Sean Curtis Patrick, Takumi Ogata, slapslap, Margo Halsted
Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.
This week features metal-jazz by Project 206, ambient by Sean Curtis Patrick, soundtrack vibes by Takumi Ogata, electric-bassoon jams by slapslap, and an illustrated talk by former Univerity of Michigan carillon educator Margo Halsted.
Project 206, Unsustainable
Keyboardist Galen Bundy is the leader of Project 206, a collection of Washtenaw County-associated musicians who exist on the fringes of avant-garde jazz, electronic experimenters, and left-field rock. The ensemble's new six-track album blends metal, improvisation, psychedelia, and Bundy's effects-laden keyboards, but rather than going for prog-length tracks, Unsustainable's longest cut is just over 3 minutes. But Bundy and fellow musicians Kirsten Carey (guitar, vocals), Peter Formanek (sax), Joe Fee (bass), Will Lorenz (bass), and Rob Avsharian (drums) can say a helluva lot in fewer than 120 seconds per jam.
Sean Curtis Patrick, The Life of Ripple (K-44) EP
Former Ann Arbor creative Sean Curtis Patrick is always making beautiful ambient music, and his new EP is for a beautiful cause. Now living in the Pacific Northwest, Patrick was inspired by the nearby plight of K-44, aka Ripple, a killer whale who lived around the San Juan Islands and died under mysterious circumstances. A portion of the proceeds from The Life of Ripple (K-44) will be donated to The Whale Museum and The Center for Whale Research.
Takumi Ogata, Utsuwa
My first thought after listening to Takumi Ogata's Utsuwa was that the five spooky, tension-filled tracks could be part of a movie soundtrack. When I dug around a bit, I saw that the Ann Arbor musician's last album, September 2022's Remnant, actually was a film soundtrack—watch the 14-minute movie here. Utsuwa touches on sound design, industrial noise, and retrowave in equal measures. Listen for it in a future soundtrack, be it a film or a video game.
slapslap, Bad Idea, Good Execution
This Ann Arbor quartet might be the only electric bassoon band in existence. The band's music is steeped with humor, such as retelling The Headless Horseman story as "The Legend of Slappy Hollow" or the narrated dance number "Slap on 3." There's also the surprisingly straight-faced and beautiful "The Second Biggest Thing Yet," which shows slapslap playing a kind of pop-classical drum 'n' bass. I could easily hear a singer crooning over the track.
Margo Halsted, The Lady in the Tower: An Expression of Life, Music, and the Carillon illustrated talk
Between 1987 and 2003, Margo Halsted was an assistant professor and later associate professor at the University of Michigan. She was named associate professor emerita in 2003. Halsted, who died on February 22 at age 84, played and taught carillon and U-M (and Michigan State University), with prior stints at Stanford University, the University of California Riverside, and the University of California Santa Barbara. If you've ever wondered what draws musicians to focus on playing a bell tower instead of, say, a piano, on June 6, 2021, Halsted gave an illustrated talk about her life and career to the Pasadena Village Creative Connection Project. Her son and daughter, Christopher and Suzanne, provided supplementary materials and edited the talk into the 45-minute presentation below. It's a sweet tribute to their mom and one of UMich's beloved carillon educators.
Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.