Floating on Vetiver's fumes; Free jazz befriends Four Tet

There's music that heaves, and then there's music that sighs. Portland's Talkdemonic performs the latter variety. Its quiet releases, however, are not to be confused with the defeated or passive-aggressive variety; rather, TalkdemonicÕs delicate expulsions are like breathing exercises. An instrumental duo of Lisa Molinaro and Kevin OÕConnor, the pair uses viola, percussion, and crisp PowerBook processing to construct wistful vignettes that could easily soundtrack a film fable in the Chinese wu xia style. An undercurrent of stoicism and poise runs throughout TalkdemonicÕs songs, similar to that found in such films as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and House of Flying Daggers. This is aural calligraphy under the tutelage of Dirty Three, mÚm, and M83. Hear for yourself on Thursday, March 30, at the Independent at 8 p.m. Admission is $14; call 771-1421 or visit www.independentsf.com for more info. Tony Ware

Free jazz and electronic music wouldn't appear to naturally jibe: The former art form is the fruition of democratic, collective improvisation, while the latter is done best by dudes isolated in their bedrooms or labs, combing over every sonic nuance in painstaking detail. Funny that these Õ60s-born genres remained separated at birth for so long, but as beatheads scoured the bins for breaks and jazz players sought present-day relevance, it was really only a matter of time before they merged. Fans of laptopper Four Tet already know that Kieran Hebden is ever searching for new musical possibilities. His live shows (and recent CD and DVD) take his recorded tracks much further out, spontaneously combusting them on the fly. To be paired with a drummer as dynamic, commanding, and pliant as the stalwart Steve Reid is the key, though; the man's résumé is ridiculous, filled with Motown sessions and time spent gigging with James Brown, Sun Ra, and Fela Kuti. Expect sparks tonight as the pairing of these two seekers should sound ecstatic. They perform on Thursday, March 30, at Great American Music Hall at 8 p.m. Admission is $16-$18; call 885-0750 or visit www.gamh.com for more info.— Andy Beta

After conducting a little research into aromatherapy, I've discovered that Vetiver is not only the performance name for the folksy, San Francisco-based singer-songwriter Andy Cabic, but also 'a tall, dense, wild grass ... sought after for its calming, protective, soothing, and uplifting characteristics.' Of course, this can only mean one thing: Cabic knows his medicinal vegetation. His charmingly thin voice and simple, by-candlelight melodies — often accompanied by feather-light touches of cello, violin, and even Devendra Banhart's guitar — are precise distillations of the plant's powerful attributes. Just a few songs into Cabic's self-titled 2004 debut and my soul becomes awash in an uplifting sense of wellness and safety, as if he has carefully laid my bare body atop a thick, verdant bed of the substance he shares a name with. So maybe (hopefully!) we will all get nude together when Vetiver plays on Sunday, April 2 at Great American Music Hall at 8 p.m. Admission is $13-$32.95; call 885-0750 or visit www.gamh.com for more info.— Justin F. Farrar

Edith Frost sings about ruined relationships with icy indifference, addressing infidelity and extinguished passion without hard-selling her hurt. As someone who has never recorded or toured with the same backing band twice during her four-album career, perhaps she's numb to constant change. Frost and her latest lineup (bassist Ryan Hembrey, drummer Jason Toth, and occasional auxiliary instrumentalists) merge chamber-pop with country, decorating simply spoken lost-love laments with jangly guitars, pianos, and bells. Frost's delivery never telegraphs anguish or anger, letting her backdrops fill in the emotional blanks. Keyboards quiver, basslines brood, and psychedelic touches hint at delusional dreamlands, perfect for songs in which lucky charms stave off heartbreak. On stage, Frost can shatter the sense of cool detachment with a single sorrowful expression, melting her audience in the process. She performs on Tuesday, April 4, at the Hemlock Tavern at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $10; call 923-0923 or visit www.hemlocktavern.com for more info.— Andrew Miller

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