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Making noise in L.A.

Zola Jesus, Sun Araw and Infinite Body will be heard.

January 23, 2011|By August Brown, Los Angeles Times

It's intense, sometimes brutal music, but Stallones' fearlessness toward drones and freewheeling jamming puts him among mind-bending pioneers like Terry Riley. The sound has taken him on tour to Europe and Australia, but in ways Stallones — who's worked as a film archivist at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — already seems much further away internally. His mixing of high art and lowbrow bro-isms (such as, say, his fondness for free jazz and his trucker hat collection) seems to embody the 26-year-old's omnivorous generation, one where music composition is less about making a statement than providing a singular world of escape.

"In the end, I don't see it as being about emotive versus unemotive," Stallones said. "Harsh noise, like free jazz, can be the most emotive show in town."

Infinite Body

Infinite Body's bliss-riddled tone poems are simultaneously more traditionally "pretty" of the lot yet maybe the most difficult to parse. The young composer Kyle Parker, who began his career making much more violent music, builds simmering crescendos from snippets of distortion-slammed keyboards and samples vocals from a contact microphone. But he approaches chord changes and melody in ways that Erik Satie would find peer with, and one that leaves his work feeling emotionally ravaged and heartbroken despite being wholly instrumental and nearly impossible to unpack structurally.

"Really my only intention is toward intensity, and I've realized that any work is a disappointment if it only goes for one kind of response," Parker said. "Beauty doesn't have to make you happy, it can make you interested in a wider range of possibilities of the ineffable."

His 2010 full-length album for No Age's Post Present Medium imprint, "Carve Out the Face of My God," earned accolades for its update on My Bloody Valentine's use of noise toward sad and wistful ends (Infinite Body had a split single with No Age come out in December). But Parker's music is wholly divorced from those bands' pop songwriting. A track like "Dive" bends and flows to its own internal logic, while still clearly fraught with desperation and yearning.

That sense might not be just an artistic one — Parker recently decamped from L.A. to Portland, Ore., to decompress and reassess his creative goals. "I'm at a really weird point where I don't know what I want, but I've been on a tipping point of a real sense of freedom," he said. But he suspects he'll be back in L.A. soon to keep exploring. "I like those qualities in music that make it more than a regular human experience. With Infinite Body I'm really only reaching for beauty, and there's been such a wide range of possibilities to get there."

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