There is something tenuous about “Hell,” something delicate, spontaneous, and thoroughly unpredictable. If I had to describe it, it would be like watching game of Jenga being played in reverse, where all the building blocks are scattered about in disarray and need to be reassembled. The major difference being that Visitors refuse to stack their layers in neat columns and orderly rows. Instead, the group employs a shape-shifting tropical jazz groove as a foundation to create all sorts of obtuse angles, oblique lines, and spur of the moment convergences.
The expansive, improvisational nature of this music shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s familiar with Visitors’ primary players. Comprised of Gage Gilmore (The Difference Machine, Cosmic Trigger), Danny Carey Bailey (Faun and a Pan Flute), and Jared Pepper (Lily and the Tigers), the new project is a collaborative effort that calls upon the talents of some of the city’s most accomplished and forward-thinking musicians. In addition to the founding trio, the group’s forthcoming debut features appearances from Adron, Chelsea Dunn (Dux), Chris Childs (ex-Hello Ocho, Faun and a Pan Flute), Rasheeda Ali, and Ryan Gregory (ex-Christ, Lord).
The projects draws its name from the Broad Street Visitors Center, a recording studio in South Downtown that forms the home for all of the group’s recording endeavors. “There are many of collaborations that happen in the studio, either by inviting someone new to come out and play, or someone bringing a friend into the space for the first time,” says Gilmore, who plays bass and synthesizer in the project. “So, there are a lot of recordings of people playing music with each other for the first time, and Visitors is one of the ways for us to release that music.”
Although “Hell” initially started as a longer improvisation, the group began to add more deliberate accompaniment as the song’s roots began to grow and take shape. Once the track was nearing completion, Visitors reached out to local songstress Adron to bring vocals into the mix. Her lush, elegant voice adds the perfect accompaniment to the track’s free-flowing Brazilian flair and off-kilter constructs, and helps shape the group’s collective flights of fancy into something more tangible and emotionally compelling. “We asked Adron to be a part of the recording after seeing her perform at a tunnel show,” says Gilmore. “It was kind of impulsive but worked perfectly, swimmingly, splendidly.”
Although there is no release date scheduled for Visitors’ debut, Gilmore says the group plans on releasing three to five albums in 2017, featuring some of their “favorite thinkers in our local scene.” In addition to their own records, Visitors also hopes to to see the release of a session recorded last year with eclectic singer-songwriter Larkin Grimm. “We spent an afternoon recording and then played a show across the street at Mammal [Gallery] that night,” says Gilmore. “The approach was completely improvised and we are extremely happy with the results.”