Yesterday my colleague Philip Montoro shared a track from See Heat, the debut album from a new project of Brian Case and Justin Walters called Bambi Kino Duo. The pair will celebrate the release and play its first live show ever on Saturday at the Burlington. Headlining the concert is another duo, but this one has logged hundreds of performance, including many in Chicago: Asheville, North Carolina’s Ahleuchatistas. During the last visit guitarist Shane Parish and drummer Ryan Oslance made to Chicago, in August of 2014, they went into Observatory Studios with engineer David Allen, who happens to be a partner in the local label International Anthem.
Parish and Oslance laid down six remarkable tracks, leaving room for the guitarist to overdub extra colors and melodic filigree in the months that followed. Last month they released Arrebato, a clear high-water mark in the project’s career. Ahleuchatistas started out as an ambitious math-rock outfit, but over the years it’s broadened its scope, thanks largely to Parish improving but tempering his technique—the better he gets, the less often he shows off his chops. Plus, Oslance is a terrific partner, able to keep up the Parish’s flights of fancy and impose a structure on his machinations. There’s a prog-rock sensibility in all of the group’s output, including Arrebato, but that aesthetic doesn’t dictate the proceedings. Rather, it seems as though Ahleuchatistas let specific melodic, textural, or formal ideas in each of the six tracks control where things grow.
The knockout “La Faena” is a multipartite epic that’s packed with Parish’s ideas, changing attacks, and huge palette of sounds, but as dense as it is, it never bogs down—it feels effervescent and almost bubbly, not words I’d expect to use to describe prog-rock. As you can hear below on the thrilling opener “Sundowning,” Parish lays down a shimmery metallic lick—not as in heavy metal, but rather the sound of metal clanging—before the beats and pedal-enhanced descending tones slide in and the tune is races off into shape-shifting territory. It suggests what Battles might have done if they hadn’t become so immersed in plastic, Day-Glo sounds.