Event on 2012-05-19 20:30:00
Memoryhouse didn’t actually set out to be a band. It took form as a collaborative project meant to serve as an artistic outlet for composer Evan Abeele and photographer Denise Nouvion. Evan, a dedicated student of classical music and a pop-music encyclopedist, intended Memoryhouse to be a multimedia art project, pairing his instrumental compositions with Denise’s photographs and short films. Combining their musical and visual artwork seemed the most promising, and least unhealthy, strategy for battling archetypal adolescent angst worsened by the paralyzing effects of Canadian winter. What they wanted was to test ways to blur the boundaries between genres, to weave a synthesis of music and photography. As Denise explains their collaborative cross-media process, “we start with photos that we want to write around, to give us some kind of aesthetic grounding.”
“When people think of music today, they try to compartmentalize it into different genres,” Evan observes. “I think the sound we have right now fits ‘out’ of time, but, obviously, is still ‘in’ our time. It’s something that could have happened many years ago, but it also sounds contemporary.”
Memory, then, both in terms of looking back and as embedded in contemporary culture, is the basis of the Memoryhouse project. The band’s name itself commemorates the work of German neo-classical composer/artist Max Richter, specifically his 2001 album Memoryhouse, as well as the watershed impact of that album on the Abeele-Nouvion project. As Evan explained in an interview with Pitchfork, “for me, in my musical development, there was a ‘before Memoryhouse’ and an ‘after Memoryhouse’…Hearing that fundamentally changed the way I approached composition. I just wanted to pay tribute to that. I wanted to have that to ground us, wherever we took our own music.”
Where Evan and Denise took their own music was a quick distance from where they began, recording, refining, and conceptualizing their aural-visual collage in the bedroom of a suburban family home. Individually and together, they experimented with themes, lyrics and multiple layers of instrumentation, with Nouvion’s soft, ethereal voice anchoring the frozen textures of Abeele’s compositions with frank sentimentality—a uniqure approach towards humanizing the electro-pop compositions they were creating.
Their first extended stint as performers made for a huge learning curve, but after a few extended tours in Europe and the United States, they were soon signed by Seattle’s legendary Sub Pop Records. And in September 2011 Memoryhouse released an improved version of their original home-recorded EP The Years on Sub Pop.
at Beachland Ballroom
15711 Waterloo Rd
Cleveland, United States