Festival Coverage

Hopscotch Must-Sees: Ahleuchatistas

This is a personal artist spotlight on Ahleuchatistas by DJ Acorn for Hopscotch.

I had the pleasure of being introduced to Ahleuchatistas last winter, out of total happenstance.
I tagged along with my friend who had organized an event at Apothecary, a relatively new DIY venue in downtown Asheville, for later in the week but we made the trek up a few days early. Incidentally, the night we arrived Apothecary was hosting “Osfest,” a weekend-long farewell to the Ahleuchatistas’ percussionist, Ryan Oslance, who was moving to California from his native Asheville. I had no idea who Oslance or Ahleuchatistas was at the time, but throughout the evening I was definitely picking up on some cult-like vibes surrounding the act. Some kid even cited it as his “favorite band ever.” We’ve all heard that before, but rarely in reference to a couple of local art rock musicians.

That night I kept noticing a man with long shaggy blond hair walking around with no shoes on jumping from group to group, who struck me as an interesting character from the start, but I realized I was about to witness something truly amazing once he– the honorary Oslance– put bells around his ankles and neck as he sat in front of a drum kit. Another man, Shane Perlowin, with a guitar was carefully arranging a score of effects pedals in his own corner of the stage.

The performance was a display of pure mastery of each member’s respective instrument. They both seemed to have surpassed any interest in making songs that people can dance to or whistle in the shower, but rather more concerned with expanding the technical horizons of their instruments. For instance: Oslance, draped in sleigh bells, transforms his own body into an instrument. Their music, however frantic and complicated, never comes off as a mess of noise. Instead, it is almost dizzyingly meticulous that two people can sync with each other to conjure such busy precision out of a guitar and a drum kit.

These men are more than math rock musicians; they are certainly avant-garde in their understanding of how sounds interact with each other with pings and bangs and whispering, lingering chords. I cannot wait to see them again this Hopscotch and have my mind blown with the technical and artistic mastery of Ahleuchatistas.

FAVORITE TRACK: “Requiem for the Sea” off Heads Full of Poison and “A Little Effort Goes a Long Way” off Location Location

PLAYING:  Contemporary Art Museum, Saturday September 7th at 9:30-10:30 PM