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Tippy, Pat Keen, And Illusions

  • Arts + Literature Laboratory 2021 Winnebago Street Madison, WI, 53704 United States (map)
Pat Keen. Photo by Jesse Johnson

Pat Keen. Photo by Jesse Johnson

Minneapolis-based musician Pat Keen is probably best known as a member of the abrasive avant-jazz ensemble Wei Zhongle, but his new solo album, Albatross, released on the date of this show via Philadelphia's Ramp Local label, heads in a more ruminative direction. The instrumentation on songs like "Indigo" and "Wannabes" often feels light and unobtrusive, with Keen's acoustic guitar carrying deceptively complex chord progressions and odd rhythms. The real charm of the album, however, comes from Keen's vocals: A bit like The Dismemberment Plan's Travis Morrison, Keen always sounds as if he's tackling his vocal melodies from a bit of an oblique angle, but also comes off as earnest and committed to his meandering but unhurried melodies. At times Keen veers into layers of tense vocal harmonies or restive percussion, yet the emphasis here is on restraint and intimacy, especially on closer "Sore Thumb." In other words, Albatross captures an oddball musician trying to make a singer-songwriter album and actually succeeding. —Scott Gordon

Earlier Event: June 1
Dwarves, JFA