In early 2013, the Brooklyn-based art rock ensemble Throw Vision self-released their debut LP In I. The nine tracks delivered weren’t familiarly structured pop songs so much as radiant sound collages–woven together as distinct and sometimes opposing parts that careen and collide in brilliantly unconventional ways. From the sublime baroque-funk of “Nonah” to the soul-savvy reggae strut of “3, 4, 5, I Lost,” the four-piece band explore an impressive range of influences on the album, transitioning ceaselessly from genre to genre with exceptional ease, brandishing their penchant for eclecticism like a weapon of mass destruction. As disorienting as it is hard-grooving, In I is an enticing medley of dream-like soundscapes that seem to disappear just as they’ve taken shape. The record plays as a progressive and audacious piece of music, but by the closing track “Mild Neu Year” I get the sinking suspicion that Throw Vision have only scratched the surface of their creative potential.
On May 8, roughly 26 months after the unveiling of In I, I watched Throw Vision perform at a quaint but musty-smelling Chelsea venue called Nola, Darling that, unsurprisingly, operates mostly as a yoga studio. Since their debut, the band haven’t released much, save for the excellent 7″ single Were It Will, which dropped last month. The first track “Hello Morning (Sunrise)” is expansive and swelling, parrying discordant guitar hysterics with cherubic piano flourishes. But the B-side is really where it’s at: “Shake The Hand” might be the antagonized response to In I‘s “Hold Your Tongue,” a fractious retaliation to the careful but convoluted mediations of the band’s debut. “Shake The Hand,” the closing number of that night’s set, is the sound of Throw Vision refusing to contain themselves. It very well may be their best song to date.
In a live setting, the band evokes loose comparisons to Dirty Projectors and fellow Brooklynites Ava Luna, appropriating their wily, technical precision and general knack for layered, male-and-female vocal harmonies. Still, Throw Vision prove to be distinguishable, anchored securely by the weight of frontwoman Tiff O.’s formidable tenor (which sits comfortably between the menacing howl of Savages‘ Jehnny Beth and the melancholic beauty of Beach House member Victoria Legrand’s devastating hum).
The May 8 set was comprised of three unreleased joints–“Sheila,” “Tron,” and “Thrown to Yards”–sandwiched between already released tracks like “Water Basket” and “Mild Neu Year.” The songs performed from In I were interpolated as new, nearly unfamiliar compositions that expanded upon the record’s subdued underbelly of raucous rhythms, frisky funk, and fitful jazz kinetics. Such was the case on “Uncertainty Principle,” which was graced with a percolated, senselessly swaggering two-and-a-half-minute intro that commanded the hipbones and ass muscles of just about everyone watching.
Ever faithful to their Bandcamp tagline (A collective of many instruments and few people, Throw Vision unearths soul from soulless places), the four members were constantly switching roles, namely Taja Cheek and Dan Kleederman, rotating between bass, guitar, keys, and synthesizers. On stage, which in this case was just a few inches from the ground, Throw Vision work as a spectacularly well-oiled machine whose function has yet to be fully realized. Only time, and additional releases, will tell how this brilliant band might manifest.
Allow Throw Vision to introduce themselves:
We are a group of 4 people and many instruments, half (actually) from Brooklyn and half later arrivals. We were fed a steady diet of funk, soul, jazz, minimalism, and miscellaneous “rock” in our late youth; we harvested these musical fruits from the soundtrees in our backyards and baked them into a pie.
That pie is this band.
Watch the music video for “Water Basket” below and peep at live footage of Throw Vision performing “Uncertainty Principle” at Nola, Darling.