Geist & The Sacred Ensemble Live Show Review

When others introduced Geist & The Sacred Ensemble to me as “weird folk-psych,” I knew immediately that I would find in them a welcome change from more common interpretations of modern psychedelic music. To my surprise, though, what I soon found within the gritty confines of Seattle’s Black Lodge was a cinematic musical achievement, from a band that can exercise excellent musical and visual control over their live performance – without actually employing their own visuals.

 

June 12th, 2012 @ The Black Lodge – Seattle, WA

“At their quietest, Geist & The Sacred Ensemble entrance audiences with Dust Bowl and tumbleweed levels of silence, only to subsequently lift them up towards bovine-levitating, UFO-sighting swells.”

 

In practice, watching Geist & The Sacred Ensemble’s set was hardly about watching them at all. At least, not with mine actual eyes. Watching their set was more about seeing them in the cinema of my mind, where a filmmaker with a more vivid and visual imagination than my more articulated self is ruler. Geist & The Sacred Ensemble’s soundtrack of the night, which was full-on engaging and complete with multiple movements, did indeed possess “folk”, “weird”, and “psych” elements, but was exceptionally more visual and unpredictable than four men playing instruments usually is. Their film was not quite a western, sci-fi, or adventure tale, but contained qualities of all; it was one set in a world of browns and burnt umbers, panning past natural beauty mixed in with human grit, dry straw matted with dirt. At their quietest, Geist & The Sacred Ensemble entrance audiences with Dust Bowl and tumbleweed levels of silence, only to subsequently lift them up towards bovine-levitating, UFO-sighting swells. Exceptional moments of dissonance conjure images of guitar strings ensnared in barbed wire fences, while the band occasionally loosens their reigns to allow for sloppy galloping percussion and coarse vocal drones.

This is folk-inspired music for the centuries, past and future. By the end of Geist & The Sacred Ensemble’s set, so many images had flashed through my mind, divergent yet related by mood, that I felt as though I’d even witnessed Jesus trudging through paths of spit and blood on his way to Mount Calvary. I bow to thee, Geist & The Sacred Ensemble! For how I wish you might soundtrack my life, to connect its darkest, most desolate moments to so many others in the same sphere of sense, rather than sound alone.

Ω

Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/she) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

In 2017, Vee released the narrative short film, Searching Skies — which touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States — and co-organized The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. 2022 sees the release of their next short film, Reckless Spirits, which is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature film.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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christopher howe
christopher howe
5 years ago

Thank you for the kind words Vivan! … love Space (Geist)

Written by Vee Hua 華婷婷
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