Music

Throw Vision: Finding Synesthesia in Music

They push boundaries in the most unusual of circumstances and seem to do their best work under the pressures of time

Story by Tiffany Wen - tiffanywen3383@gmail.com Photos by Icarus Blake Videos by Raoul Beltrame  

Throw Vision – “3, 4, 5 I Lost / AC Intro” from Citizen Brooklyn on Vimeo.

Too often, artists become cogs of their own machine, churning out the same hit on stage performance after performance. Throw Vision, a quirky quartet hailing from Crown Heights, recently caught our attention for being anything but more of the same. Their obvious penchant for experimentation, fickle curiosity and openness to collaboration of all kinds make them today’s rising artists and pioneering synesthetes (derived from synesthesia, literally: “A condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another, as when the hearing of a sound produces the visualization of a color.”).

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

So who is Throw Vision?
A collective of four multi-instrumentalists, but the sound of more—Taja (keys-bass-synth guitar), Tiff (lead vocals-guitar), Alex (drums-percussion) and Dan (guitar-bass) hail from diverse musical backgrounds. Tiff and Taja married their love for Animal Collective with the band’s missing puzzle pieces, mashing together a true melting pot of sound—everything from the jazzy experimentation of Sun Ra to the sultry soulful vocals of Nina Simone, over to the more technical minimalism of Phillip Glass.

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Early January, they invited us into their practice studio and played us a blend of two songs: “3,4,5 I Lost” which then morphed into a number, “AC Intro,” reserved only for live shows. “We can’t tell you what AC stands for, it’s secret,” whispers Taja playfully. A year after releasing their debut album “In I”, the artists have entered a new phase of exploration, taking their sounds and plunging deep into a rabbit hole of textures, transitions, and new associations with old material—the perfect modern day sonic collage within a structure that’s very much their own. “We’re experimenting with taking the album and cutting it up, and mixing it around and doing weird things with it live, so it’s not what you’d expect,” adds the bassist.

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

The song they played told a story rich in colorful sound and auditory imagery. The recurring lyrics “I-I-I-will ne-eh-eh-eh-ver be-e-e-eee a ge-e-e-e-eeeenius” stutters over punchy hi-hat clicks and a funky baseline. You groove and surrender to a transition that sees scales slither and golden cymbals scatter with accented vocal buildups. As you fall deeper into the cool hypnotic swirl of something that lacks immediate structure, you find solace in having transcended your own listening limits in favor of something better. This momentum of ascent finally shatters uncontrollably at the four-minute mark. You jump into gravity’s shoes as you plunge head first into chromatic free fall. Punchy toms swirl around spacey riffs and an explosion of ethereal beauty shuffles from one eardrum to the next. The gravity and turbulence of the song, like the yin and yang, come together harmoniously. You finally land back on solid ground, realizing you’ve traversed multiple dimensions and passages of time.

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Listening to this song calls forth your inner synesthete—where free associations are made in a safe, but wildly exploratory collaborative process, engaging both performer and audience simultaneously. Look no further than past projects with filmmaker David Sherwin (Vox Media) on “Water Basket” and musical accompaniment with playwright Diane Xavier at the Bowery Poetry Club to see how their music beautifies just about anything it touches. They push boundaries in the most unusual of circumstances and seem to do their best work under pressures of time that would otherwise send type A off the deep end. If liner notes were still around, theirs would go something like: “In other words, we don’t know [re: what’s next], but we’re going to figure it out as we go. That’s the best way.” …We can’t wait.

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Add your comment