What if I told you that you could go see two incredible, other-worldy bands and still be home in time for dinner? What if I told you that you bring your kids to this show? What if I told you that you can do this all on the cheap? Would you believe me? This time, you can handle the truth because SPACE Gallery has opened a can of awesome with a new monthly series of daytime concerts. There’s no need to power nap in the afternoon because this show is during the afternoon. Doors open at 3:30.
The series kicks off with an avant-folk duo and chamber-folk sextet. You may want to strap on your anti-gravity boots because both acts could send you into a celestial orbit that you might not want to ever come down from. Wait, maybe leave the boots at home.
I’ll start with Lewiston-based Arborea, the husband-and-wife duo of Buck and Shanti Curran. Since 2005 they’ve released five albums and have performed all over the U.S., U.K. and Europe. When I listen to any Arborea song it’s like I’ve hit the secret button in the elevator and instead of hovering over Wonka’s Chocolate factory, I’m looking down at ancient ruins and hearing anything but elevator music. Shanti’s voice is as delicate as fine lace and as beautiful. Buck’s guitar transfixes me all on its own, whether he is playing electric or acoustic. The song “Pale Horse Phantasm” from “Fortress of the Sun” is stunning. “Freedom fevers my skin/lain with the light/I can now heed the call/Riding before the dawn.”
And I’ll tell you something else about the song. Two words: the video. Yes I said video. It’s rare that a clip moves me so much that I want to write about it but such is the case with this one. Shanti awakes in a forest by the ocean’s edge and is pursued by a black-robed mythical entity. The scenery, cinematography and song are all gorgeous and it’s a must-see clip. The same can be said for another “Fortress” song called “After the Flood Only Love Remains,” Buck told me he wrote the song form an intensely personal place. “Life is the battle we cannot argue/Time is a war we cannot wage/Blood is the price we all must pay/Love is the shelter we all must save.” The video was shot on location in Puerto Rico after some of the worst flooding in recent history and Arborea gave Geoff Ryan free reign on creativity. Trust me. Head to YouTube and watch the clip.
At present, Arborea is in the midst of an indiegogo campaign to fund their project. Their plan is to make a record that celebrates their 10-year anniversary as a band and they’ll be including some special guests that they’ve met during tours around the world. Donations will be rewarded with copies of the album and other perks so if you want in on this, head to indiegogo.com/projects/help-arborea-create-a-landmark-album. And even if you just have $10 to spare, that amount gets you a download of their cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising,” which you’ve got to hear to believe, and a digital art photography image by Shanti or Buck.
It happens every time I stretch out on the couch with my pooch, Odie. It’s also the name of a chamber folk sextet from Brooklyn, New York. Of course I mean Cuddle Magic. They’re a songwriting collective whose members have worked with the likes of Beyonce, Amanda Palmer and Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, among others. I listened to a couple of tracks, including “Expectations,” a song that’s as sweet as pie despite lyrics that speak of knowing better than to let the wrong person into one’s heart. “She makes no promises, she lays out the deal. And still I tell myself this love is for real.” Plucked strings, horns and whistling sneak into the tune as does an unexpected f-bomb that is sung without bitterness but more matter-of-factly. All the while an acoustic guitar and mild-mannered percussion carry the song.
After two listens, I found myself humming it throughout the day. “Paris/Happydent,” at just under seven minutes, meets at the crossroads of whimsical and experimental with male and female vocals that don’t show up until halfway through the song. The song’s structure is relaxed and through headphones there are plenty of nuances to pick up on. Is that a xylophone I hear? What’s that clanging sound? Did a UFO just land in the song? And just what are they singing about? You get the idea. Head to cuddle-magic.com and hear both of these tunes.
Arborea and Cuddle Magic. 4 p.m. Sunday. SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland. $8, $5 for 6 to 12 year olds, free for 5 and under; space538.org