There's an excellent chance, given her singular approach, that singer/songwriter Laura Gibson will be tagged as part of the American neo-folk subgenre known variously as New Weird America, freak-folk, or free-folk. Gibson's songs are tantalizingly spare to an almost psychedelic degree, recalling mind-warped six-string bards Syd Barrett and Jandek. Like the later works of U.S. mod-classical composer Morton Feldman, it's as if the listener is hearing a snowflakes formation or a flower opening (not unlike what you would see in a nature documentary) as Gibson reveals on "Nightwatch": "My words ker-plop around the page." Her tender, deliberate vocals seem as if she's singing them to you from across a room, a bit above a murmur. The stark yet hopeful longing of a hymn possesses her songs' arrangements with trumpet, viola, and musical saw, you could imagine "Broken Bottle" being played by a Salvation Army band at the turn of the century (the 20th century, that is). Unlike some of her more avant-garde peers, Gibson doesn't forget to feature engaging melodies, hushed and measured though they may be. Though it lacks heavy-duty dissonance and clangor, her debut disc, If You Come to Greet Me, is an intensely challenging experience unlike some intensely challenging experiences, though, there are tiny, glistening rewards to be treasured by the intrepid.
Musee Mecanique (former members of Tristeza) and Snowblink also perform.
Wed., Oct. 24, 8 p.m., 2007