Simple Answers forms a unique bridge between disparate sonic realms. The drones and dissonance of abstract modern classical composition, dramatic post-punk vocal hooks, lush 19th Century romanticism, Medieval choral beauty, horror film score cacophony, and even some rhythms and textures from trap rap and R&B, all come together in dark, cinematic epics. Special guest sopranos Daisy Press and Megan Schubert join Looker in harmony on several pieces, other times taking the lead themselves. Members of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Wet Ink Ensemble, and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra comprise the wind and brass sections, while strings are rendered by the acclaimed Mivos Quartet. Rising virtuoso pianist/composer Kelly Moran provides piano and keyboards throughout.
Lyrically, the conceptual foundation of the song cycle is an equally gnarled intersection. Using as a departure point the works of two very strange bedfellows, French feminist psychoanalyst/philosopher Julia Kristeva, and American comedian Patrice O’Neal (RIP), Looker uses tropes from both thinkers’ oeuvres to understand the psychology behind today’s global rising tide of fascist ideology. The songs spiral through themes of power, masculinity, Jewish self-hatred, addiction, brainwashing, and the occult, often within a single line.
For this concert, the ensemble will be led by renown conductor David Bloom (Contemporaneous). They will also be joined by special guest lead vocalist Doug Moore (of NY death metal experimentalists Pyrrhon) performing surprise cover songs, arranged by Looker for the occasion.
Opening the evening will be the ensemble’s own soprano Daisy Press, performing a solo set of the music of Hildegard von Bingen, the legendary 12th Century composer, writer, abbess, and mystic.
Simple Answers is out June 15 on double-LP and digital formats, through Looker’s own Last Things Records.