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Cale Parks with Passion Pit

Jan. 29 • Northside Tavern

By Brian Baker · January 23rd, 2009 · Sound Advice
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If you’ve got any ill-conceived drummer jokes, you can rest assured that they don’t apply to Cale Parks.

As a current member of both Aloha and White Williams, there wouldn’t seem to be a whole lot of wiggle room in Parks’ schedule. Yet he’s somehow making time to have a blossoming solo career in addition to his multiple band duties. Of course, Parks’ usual multi-tasking abilities make him uniquely qualified to handle the demands of dual membership. Besides being a hypertalented timekeeper, Parks is also an in-demand keyboardist and vibraphonist (he’s done stints in Chin Up Chin Up, Joan of Arc, Owen and Pit Er Pat, among many others). And his multi-instrumentalist skills are all over his two completely solo recordings, 2006’s Illuminated Manuscript and last fall’s Sparklace.

A quick glance at Parks’ MySpace page reveals a list of influences as wide-ranging as the passenger manifests at Ellis Island, claiming inspiration from everyone from Brian Eno and Philip Glass to Kate Bush and The Dead Milkmen.

The first two influences aren’t too difficult to spot in Parks’ sonic Waldo melange, as the soundscape on both of his solo works tends to veer toward Glass’ endlessly cycling variations-on-a-theme melodicism and Eno’s warmly cool electronic ambience.

But of course, those are just jumping off spots for Parks’ and his unique musical perspective. Not everyone gets Parks’ sonic viewpoint — some critics found Illuminated Manuscript and Sparklace darkly cinematic, moodily evocative and ultimately compelling, while others found them repetitive, one-dimensional and forgettable.

If you have any affinity for Glass and (especially) Eno, you’ll fall into the former camp while falling dreamily in love with Cale Parks’ gentle yet powerfully flowing currents.

(Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.)

 
 
 
 

 

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