Over the summer, String Theorie, opened my mind to a style of music I had yet to come across; their artistic songcraft caught my ears. A band that needed no distraction of lyrics to fully entertain a large crowd of people; grabbed my attention like a light that grabs a moth’s interest. A World Fusion band, let’s explore what String Theorie’s all about.
From Joel Weik’s noteable talent on his finger-style acoustic guitar, to Jordan Critchley’s wide variety of percussion instruments, and Karl Masserschidt’s feel-good, bass tones; it will be your new favorite group to see perform.
String Theorie took the stage on July 7th at the Wadsworth Atheneum’s Museum of Art and put on a great show; the audience was having a ball. The next time I had the opportunity to see String Theorie was at Lost Acres Orchard in North Granby, CT for their 7th Annual Acoustic Evening.
Weik appears immersed in the way he plays his finger-style acoustic guitar, as if it were another appendage. Critchley seemed to be having a blast while precisely making his wide variety of world percussion instruments come alive. “I didn’t even feel like I was performing, I was just jamming out,” said Critchley after the set. Karl Messerschmidt is the most unique bass player I’ve ever seen.
String Theorie has been playing together for 2 years. When I talked with Critchley, it seemed their obscure talents are proving to catch the right kind of attention. String Theorie is now sponsored by Ovation Guitars and playing anywhere from 4-8 shows a month. Recently, String Theorie uploaded a video by Stonegate Studios to their Youtube page.
The Nigerian Udu drums are rendered through many, if not all the percussion points in String Theorie’s music. Also, Critchley mentioned the introduction of an electric washboard in their new and revised songs.
Weik says, “when I was forming String Theorie, I knew I didn’t want to have a traditional Western-style Drum Kit. Jordan (Critchley) has always played hand drums (Djembe, Conga, Bongo) and I had just come back from an Udu drum workshop…I had a collection of random percussion items, so we consolidated everything…since he has been adding more unique world instruments to his ‘kit,’ such as the Tibetan Singing Bowl and Vibraslap.”
This group’s imagination and “no rules” approach to music has a charm. They are so at ease while playing, showing what music should do for an audience in the mood to be entertained. String Theorie is very centering and a genre-type that is evolving into something beautiful.
When I talked to Critchley at the 7th Annual Acoustic Evening about String Theorie’s latest show he said, “the spirit of the music seemed to have punched somebody in the face,” the energy left the audience speechless. When I asked him for one word describing his experience, he said “rockin’.”
Weik says that for him “instrumental music is particularly amorphous and unidentifiable because there are no lyrics…it is totally up to the listener to respond to the music on a personal level.”
But rather than continuing to explain, String Theorie has music, photos and videos you can check out for yourself on their self titled website, follow them on twitter, or on their facebook page. This is an innovative group of musicians to pay attention to.