San Fermin will perform at The Cellar Door in downtown Visalia on Wednesday, March 5. Son Lux will open the show.
After making National Public Radio’s “Best Albums of 2013” list, a rave review in Pitchfork Media, a feature in Rolling Stone, and heavy radio play, San Fermin is red hot. Their live show is a pastiche of post-rock, chamber pop and contemporary classical composition.
San Fermin is the work of Brooklyn composer and songwriter Ellis Ludwig-Leone. His self-titled debut album is strongly influenced by his unique background in classical music, which includes a job assisting composer/arranger Nico Muhly.
After finishing his musical studies at Yale, Ludwig-Leone wrote the album in six weeks while holed up in a studio on the mountainous border between Alberta and British Columbia. He focused on life’s top-shelf issues – youth, nostalgia, anxiety and unrequited love – and tied these vast themes to different characters through vocal contributions from longtime friend Allen Tate, as well as Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of Lucius.
The first track released from the album, “Sonsick,” tackles many of these larger themes head-on. ”It’s like a panic attack disguised as a birthday party,” Ludwig-Leone says. ”I realized that the most intense moments are the ones in which conflicting emotional worlds exist inside you, equally, at once.”
San Fermin is not an album of singles but rather a sweeping, full-bodied listen with multiple distinct peaks and ambitious thematic connections. Ludwig-Leone composed all of the album’s arrangements and lyrics in full, prior to collaborating and recording, noting that, “writing for a large group of unknown musicians infused the writing process with a kind of operatic scope.”
Since then, the band has coalesced into a core of eight members in addition to Ludwig-Leone: Allen Tate and Rae Cassidy, lead vocals; Eliza Bagg and Rebekah Durham, vocals/violin; John Brandon, trumpet; Stephen Chen, saxophone; Tyler McDiarmid, guitar; and Mike Hanf, drums.
Kicking off the night will be tour support artist Son Lux, a.k.a. Ryan Lott. His debut recording, “At War With Walls and Mazes” (2008), earned him the title of “Best New Artist” by NPR’s All Songs Considered. In 2011, he followed up this release with “We Are Rising,” which Consequence of Sound described as “the dark, operatic middle ground between Owen Pallett and “In Rainbows”-era Radiohead or Wild Beasts’ fantastic, operatic heights.”
In the last four years, Lott has built an impressive list of collaborators including everyone from indie-rock darlings such as Sufjan Stevens, Peter Silberman (The Antlers), These New Puritans and My Brightest Diamond; to composers and classical world institutions such as Nico Muhly, Richard Perry (Arcade Fire), Judd Greenstein, yMusic, ETHEL, and Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw; to rappers Serengeti, Busdriver and Beans (Antipop Consortium).
Production credits include arranging and programming for four major feature films, most notably “Looper” (2012), plus his recent score for the forthcoming “Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” (2013). In addition to his commissioned work, the Son Lux catalog has been licensed for both film (“The Romantics,” “Looper”) and television (“Parks and Recreation,” “American Horror Story”). As a composer, Ryan has scored commercials for a long and impressive list of clients such as Absolut, IKEA, Coca-Cola, Audi and many others.
Recently, Son Lux has performed at Carnegie Hall with the Young People’s Choir of New York, held a weeklong residency at the Joyce Theater with Stephen Petronio Dance Company, performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and has shared the stage with Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass, Kate Davis and Dose One. He will be collaborating this summer with Serengeti and Sufjan Stevens and world-renowned visual artist Jim Hodges for a musical accompaniment to a traveling retrospective of Hodges’ work debuting at the Walker Museum of Art this month.
Son Lux will be releasing his third full-length release via Joyful Noise Recordings, which positions him at the helm of a diverse and impressive ensemble of instrumentalists and singers including Chris Thile (The Punch Brothers), Peter Silberman (The Antlers), Lily & Madeleine, Ieva Berberian (Gem Club), as well as other previous collaborators. Meditative and heaving with energy, the album weaves disparate elements into a singular vision of a world both strange and welcoming.
Tickets for the 21+ 9pm show are $10 and available at Velouria Records, Cellar Door, and online at www.ticketweb.com.
Aaron Gomes is the founder and owner/operator of Sound N Vision Foundation, a nonprofit organization that brings indie bands to the area and sponsors local art events.