♫♪  Spires that in the Sunset Rise - “Schluss”

Veteran outre-folk combo Spires That in the Sunset Rise have made a name for themselves in the experimental avant-garde largely by sticking to a relatively firm base of what lazy writers (perhaps now hate to) call “freak folk.” But the duo of Kathleen Baird and Taralie Peterson (plus an ever-rotating cast of collaborators) always hinted at something a little more ancient than that term might imply. They’re of course much less Animal Collective or Devendra Banhart and much more… let’s call it traditional.

Frankly, I never really considered them very freaky to begin with; the music has always hinged on its unique sets of instrumentation, using strings, winds, and the like to circle around meditative dances, ballads, hushed whispers of something of an older, perhaps mythical (or Middle-?) Earth. But on their new album Beasts in the Garden, the two dig out their high school band instruments (Baird primarily on the flute, and Peterson honking a saxophone), and the weird-factor is sufficiently amped, thrusting the music into something that, while defying a temporal specificity, still feels more modern at its core. Turning to minimalism and improvisational jazz as a main sources for inspiration (Terry Riley and Alice Coltrane in equal measure from the sound of it, the results bringing to mind an agitated version of Arthur Russell’s Tower of Meaning) has pushed the Spires into daring, hypnotic new territory with a bizarre chorale figure from the winds serving as a musical backdrop for Baird’s bracing operatic vocal delivery that’ll give your nightmares nightmares.

We’ve got the drop on this extremely psychedelic video to go along with the music from album highlight “Schluss,” which was created by Brooklyn-based visual artist and musician Camilla Padgitt-Coles — if you can’t quite tell which way the melodies are heading (left, right? Up, down? Wait, melodies — really?), trying to figure out what is what color in this thing could be a fun exercise for your already-crossed eyes.

Spires That in the Sunset Rise are heading out on a European tour in September. Check the dates here.

• Spires That in the Sunset Rise: http://stitsr.com

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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