If you play or attend local music events, you have probably seen Tim Hicks on the dance floor. He moves like a jellyfish in the shifting and unpredictable currents, somewhere in between the dark depths and glimmering surface.
He shows no preference as to what sort of music is being played. Whether it is note perfect death metal, the nervous songs of a fledgling singer-songwriter, or '80s new wave from a DJ booth, Hicks allows it to move him and bows to the performer whenever there is a pause.
In his own musical pursuit, called Adna, as in his performance art, he welcomes all vibrations and treats them kindly, transmuting the spectrum of challenging and delightful emotions into sympathetic, ambient sounds via voice, guitar, and an array of effects processors. Adna's latest release, Lent Keep, offers 25 minutes of improvised, meditative drift.
Hicks celebrates the release this Saturday at the Bubble, along with special guests, at an event that will feature live music as well as collective live drawing and painting.
"I wanted the album to be something that you could put on, and forget was on, and it would change the way you are behaving," says Hicks. "Also though, I don't want it to be massage music. There is a lot of tension that I don't want to neglect."
Mission accomplished. Lent Keep is a record that will subtly influence the vibe in the room, and the people in it. It is soothing, but not because it is trying to be. What comes through is gentle humanity rather than the contrived bliss found in much "music for relaxation."
The abstract sounds of Adna float along humbly, maintaining a delicate balance between activity and passivity. The approach is experimental. Everything on the album was improvised during one four hour session and recorded by Chris Mahle of Cb Media. Also though, what you hear has some form to it, which has evolved out of years of applied curiosity.
"I have a vocabulary at this point of sounds that I make with my mouth and my guitar."
Most of the language on the album is non-verbal. However, the album ends with a repeated phrase: "I couldn't thank you any harder."
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By the time these words arise out of the ether, many listeners may have already picked up on the grateful sentiment as it is expressed in all the sounds leading up to their utterance. As he thanks, Adna gives as well. It's not easy to self-fund a proper record, and that's what Hicks has done. In order to do so, he grinded 40 hours and made sacrifices like most folks do.
"There is a part of me that feels blighted by the system, the situation that humanity finds itself in. At the same time, I'm very privileged."
Hicks is a man who is weary along with the masses, but somehow, his music honors the whole of the situation, rather than degrading it further. Lent Keep amounts to a sonic hug from one jellyfish to all the rest, and to the abyss and surface we float between.
Adna. With Hyimn and Manifest Test Subject. 7 p.m. Saturday, April 7, at the Bubble, 810 NE 4 Ave., Fort Lauderdale. $10 cover includes complimentary drinks and a copy of the CD. Click here.