PREMIERE: Thor Harris (Swans, Shearwater) Makes His Ominous Debut with “Lullaby for Klaus”

Thor & Friends, Harris's solo debut, will be released on October 7.

Percussionist and musical polymath Thor Harris has long been a staple in the avant-rock scene. Over the past fifteen or so years, he’s collaborated with everyone from Shearwater to Bill Callahan to Devendra Banhart, and he’s spent the past five years playing with Swans. He is, it is safe to say, a man of many musical friends, and on October 7, Harris will release his first-ever solo record, Thor & Friends, which was produced by Deerhoof’s John Dieterich, as well as Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost from A Hawk and a Hacksaw.

Unsurprisingly given its creator’s pedigree, Thor & Friends takes its compositional cues from Terry Riley and Steve Reich, two contemporary masters of classical percussion. “In the thousands of conversations I’ve had with musicians and music geeks, whenever I conjure Moondog, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, or any of the mid-twentieth-century minimalists, there is a soft smile that says, ‘Yeah, I love them too,'” Harris says. “That is why that music is what I’ve used as a starting place for this new band. Marimba, xylophone, vibraphone, wood winds, strings, synths, and repetition.”

While there are hints of all of those names present in “Lullaby for Klaus,” which we’re pleased to be premiering this morning, the track casts their work in a decidedly darker shade. It’s a slow side scroller built around a gentle marimba pattern that could well have belonged to Reich or Riley, but it’s quietly overtaken by a rising and sighing cello line that spreads over the song like a cloud before the sun. It’s a familiar sense of foreboding from Harris, one made all the more eerie by the fact that the source of that impending horror never reveals itself. Give it a spin below.

Thor & Friends track list

“White Sands”Thor_and_Friends-2016-Thor_and_Friends
“Whose Fingers”
“Crusades”
“12 Ate”
“Slow Prisoner”
“Lullaby for Klaus”
“Jordan’s Song”
“Medieval”
“Thirsty Camel”

Thor & Friends is out October 7 via LM Dupli-cation. You can preorder the album here.

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