Poliça and s t a r g a z e: A Synth-Driven Orchestra at Memorial Hall



If synth-pop is your flavor, you’re in for a great night when Poliça hits town.Their upcoming release, the politically-charged, emotionally-driven Music For The Long Emergency, debuts on February 16th, just days before they take the stage at Memorial Hall. But Poliça aren't the only ones making soundwaves on the record: Emergency was created in partnership with Berlin-based orchestral collective s t a r g a z e. So if you want to hear a truly unique mixture of sound and see an incredible performance, it's time to gear up!

Founded in Minneapolis in 2012, Poliça itself is a four-piece: Channy Leaneagh leads with vocals and synth, Chris Bierden gives the songs a solid foundation on bass, and Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu both drive the music on drums. Together, over the course of three albums, they've create a dynamic combination of sounds, incorporating an array of instruments to create intricately layered melodies. The resulting smorgasbord of genres includes R&B, trip hop, alt rock, and indietronica.

The first song on Music For The Long Emergency, "How Is This Happening," was written the day after the 2016 presidential election. "That was an example of the truly healing effects of making music with your friends," said Channy of the songwriting process, "And while it doesn't necessarily make things better, it builds community." Poliça maintains a sense of defiance and celebration in their music in order to counter apprehension, anxiety, and hopelessness.

And a that's an important aspect of music for them. Many of their songs are politically motivated and deal with heavy issues, like "Wedding" from the album United Crushers, which was written in reaction to "the intertwined epidemics of police brutality and institutional racism." But Poliça isn't all politics. Much of their music is charged with personal emotion. Channy is married to the bands producer, Ryan Olson; she said the arrival of their first baby boy has made them look both inward and outward on the world and has inspired their music.

The journey of creating an album with the German orchestral collective took a total of 18 months; but though the amount of work involved was massive, the process has been riveting for both groups. European conductor and s t a r g a z e head André de Ridder said "they have a sound, and we have a sound, so we're trying to now approach each other to see how there might be an amalgam of those sounds." And it's an amalgam that seems to have worked: the collaboration results in a hauntingly beautiful look at America and the world in the age of Trump, bringing the fear many of us feel to life in a way that we can confront, understand, and accept.

If you've never gotten into Poliça, it's not too late. In fact, now is the perfect time. You can check out their discography, pick up the new album, and see them perform that album live in just a few weeks' time. This is one collaboration that's sure to impress!

When: Friday, February 23, 7:30 PM

Where: Memorial Hall

How much: $25, or $20 if you're a Contemporary Arts Center member

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