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Sun Araw brings improvisational sonic exploration to Florida

Catch the experimental artist at two very different shows this week

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“Takemitsu is a really interesting musical character,” Stallones says. “When I was working on [2014 Sun Araw album] Belomancie, his work occurred to me several times. I was definitely using manipulation of timbre and silence, two things that he wields masterfully, as load-bearing walls in these tunes. I think he is exceptional at creating the space for you to really hear the sound; he creates attentiveness, which is a powerful act. That’s something I aspire to.”

Although Stallones says he’ll leave the performance of Takemitsu’s music to the UCF Collide Ensemble, he hopes to “express a spirit in kind” for the new material in development for the two Orlando shows. “All [tours] are based on the nature of the invitation and the idea,” he says. “But I’m quite restless musically, so I really do enjoy opportunities like this to develop a set for a specific event. It’s a good way to stretch yourself out of a monotonous place with a fixed repertoire.” 

That sense of self-satisfaction is the ultimate pay-off for an experimental artist like Stallones, who will never move a million records or fly above a sold-out arena crowd on a giant hot dog. But it’s also what connects Sun Araw with true titans of jam: Toru Takemitsu, Sun Ra, the avant-garde musicians who’ve graced Timucua White House in the past. “I haven’t developed any skills of ‘songwriting,’ which is a craft very different from what I do,” Stallones says. “I’ve just never had a beautiful song or lyric flow out [of me]. My process is much more about texture and space.”  

Can an artist of such persuasion still carve out a successful career? Stallones thinks so. “We are at a unique time where the audience for this sort of music isn’t necessarily any bigger than it used to be,” he says. “But it can be accessed with greater facility due to the Internet. More importantly, the connection can be direct and not mediated through any sort of corporate structure. That’s really nice.”

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