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Astroturf Noise | Astroturf Noise

Appalachia meets the avant-garde in this weirdly wondrous musical hybrid.

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THE PRESS RELEASE:Astroturf Noise exists at the intersection of free improvisation, effects-heavy noise music, and American roots music. The group’s sound marries the propulsive rhythmic drive of bluegrass with the snarl of Downtown agitators such as the Lounge Lizards, Arto Lindsay and James Chance along with textural flavors touching on glitch music, dub, doom metal, and Ornette Coleman. A broad melange to be sure, but one anchored by the group’s energetic drive and idiosyncratic improvisational language. This is the synthetic counterpoint to Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys. Astroturf Noise was formed by Sam Day Harmet (mandolin/fx) and Sana Nagano (violin/fx) in 2016 after meeting at Karl Berger’s Creative Music Studio and discovering a shared affinity for high-energy free improv and American folk traditions. After a period of developing as a duo, they added versatile bassist Zach Swanson in 2018. Their debut self-titled album features guest contributions from genre-defying artists Billy Martin (percussion) and Sarah Bernstein (violin). Listen to this album to hear the New York avant-garde in conversation with rural America.”

MY TWO CENTS: Appalachia meets avant-garde? You’d better believe it. And make no mistake: It’s every bit as weird as it sounds, and then some. But by some combination of creative genius, musical brilliance and sheer good fortune, all these disparate elements and sounds and styles somehow merge in a fascinating instrumental whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Bonus points for tongue-in-cheek song titles like Orange Blossom Bullet Train, Black Berry and Metropolitan Special.