Ahleuchatistas: A little taste of everything
story by CAITLIN COHEN
photo by SCOTT HUBENER
Shane Parish (guitar) and Ryan Oslance (drums) of Ahleuchatistas created this avant-garde musical smoothie. The duo blends metal, jazz, progressive rock, North African and Asian elements, folk, ambient electronic music together. It doesn’t stop there—not only do they have an abstract audio palette; they execute it through composed riffs and then fluctuate the noise with improvisation.
Given that the pair made a total of nine albums together over the course of their project and consistently rehearse, they’re able to achieve a smooth transition from something memorized to something spontaneous.
“We breathe together and exist in a symbiosis. I think of the drums as an orchestra and I think of the guitar as an orchestra. Two miniature orchestras playing simultaneously. Both instruments offer polyrhythmic and polyphonic possibilities. When they play together it is possible to shift your attention to any of the moving parts. As an improviser you need to listen for these various threads and choose to respond or not accordingly,” said Shane.
The composure allows for tight and familiar playing while the improvisation calls to loosen up and be completely committed to one moment. While it’s such a treat for the audience to not know what to expect in a live performance, Shane and Ryan will continue expand their horizons by surprising themselves. They’re creating a world where various contrasting flavors melt into one bite for everyone to taste.
Another detail to note about Ahleuchatistas is that they chose not to incorporate vocals. It’s not just the fear of vocals; it’s the belief that using noise over voice is more likely to grab a hold of someone’s mind and heart when listening.
“Music alone allows imagination to soar through all kinds of internal vistas,” said Shane. “I want to make music that captures an epic feeling. That is the music I want to listen to. I understand that people have all kinds of purposes for making different music, and different agendas, but I am interested in feelings. I hope that they (people listening to their music) can experience the full range of human emotion that is typically suppressed in our day-to-day lives.”
The two listen to just about a little bit of everything, which certainly helps for discovering intriguing and fresh influence. Yet, Shane really stresses how important it is to keep their music one of a kind. It could be a challenge to remain totally original when incorporating many layers influenced by multiple muses. In this case, the goal here is to allow the music to take you away and to become completely absorbed into it—to exists in a moment where nothing else matters.
“One of the first things that drew us to one another was the fact that we both listen to just about everything. Constant listening, and feeding the fire, provides more fuel and inspiration for the muse to act upon,” said Shane “You must allow the music to happen. Don’t stand in the way of it by thinking too hard about it. It is important to play what feels natural to you without trying to impress anybody. If you practice your instrument, fundamentals, and you expose yourself to the whole wide world of music, what naturally comes out will become more nuanced and interesting. Don’t try to play any licks, or copy paste someone else’s idea into your music.”
Just like avant-garde painting, Ahleuchatistas are not something you can quite describe unless you have the chance to see them yourself. Just like the painting, they will provoke thought and reflection. Not having vocals allows the listener to interpret and experience the music in their own way.
Ahleuchatistas are certainly a band you can let your mind wander when hearing one of their recorded albums. Yet, they are definitely a band that you should experience live.
Catch them live at the Alternative Library on Aug. 17. Follow their Facebook page for more information.