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Wrekmeister Harmonies 

When: Tue., Jan. 7, 8 p.m. 2014
Price: $18
Picture a dreary, desolate landscape — perhaps the jagged cliffs of a remote part of the Northern California coast. It’s dark, windy, and eerily silent. Something is dying a slow death, and yet, the scene feels strangely beautiful. No, this isn’t a description of some experimental film, but it is some of the cinematic images that the 38-minute single-track album Then It All Came Down by Wrekmeister Harmonies calls vividly to mind. The work of Chicago multimedia artist J.R. Robinson — with contributions from Jef Whitehead of Leviathan, Sanford Parker of Nachtmystium, and Bruce Lamont of Yakuza, among others — Then It All Came Down is at times eerie, haunting, and sad, yet also monumentally heavy, crafted by electronics, string instruments such as the harp, and traditional rock instrumentation including drums and electric guitar. Fittingly, Robinson initially wrote the music to accompany a film he made, which was shot in “decimated Detroit locations, the desert of Joshua Tree and decaying forests of Tasmania,” according to the album’s press release. And, in an interview with Robinson on the metal blog Steel for Brains, he said he spent a period of time working nights at a gas station in the middle of a remote desert, listening to “weird radio” and snorting a “modest amount of cocaine.” No doubt the experience gave him ample inspiration to create such visceral music. Robinson will perform the entirety of Then It All Came Down at the Great American Music Hall (859 O’Farrell St., San Francisco), with members of Neurosis and Sutekh Hexen.
— Kathleen Richards

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