Beasts in the Garden is the seventh full length record by Midwest visionaries Spires That In The Sunset Rise. Since 2010, STITSR have operated primarily as a duo consisting of long time members Kathleen Baird and Taralie Peterson. After releasing two lush, string based albums Ancient Patience Wills It Again Part 1 and 2 in 2012 and 2013, STITSR have returned with a definitively new direction inspired greatly by two years of exploring improvisation with members of the free jazz community in Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison. Inspired to dig out their old high school instruments buried deep in the closet, Beasts in the Garden consists primarily of Taralie Peterson on alto saxophone and Kathleen Baird on flute. And in usual fashion, these two prove their musical versatility and innovation by not only embracing these two new instruments but completely owning them. Using pedals to loop, layer, pitch bend and reverse, STITSR continue to create dense lush soundscapes that verge decidedly more towards the ecstatic as opposed to their signature darker, moodier reputation. And not to be overshadowed by the new instrumentation, the Spires remain an absolute formidable force vocally with both Baird and Peterson continuing to evolve and expand the limits. While newer influences are detectable here (the repetitions of Terry Riley, the harmonizing of Jon Hassell, the wild wanks of Albert Ayler, and the flute pulses of Florian Schneider), this record continues STITSR’s fine tradition since 2001 of building “songs” in the most unorthodox of ways.
2015 was a busy year for Spires That In The Sunset Rise, opening for Slint on several dates of the Spiderland reunion tour, and also toured Europe. The UK label alt.vinyl released Beasts In The Garden in a small vinyl edition. In 2016, Hairy Spider Legs is pleased to make this mind-shattering album accessible in the U.S. as a cassette and MP3 release.
Past releases include Ancient Patience Wills It Again and Ancient Patience Wills It Again Part II (2012), Curse The Traced Bird (2008), This Is Fire (2006), Four Winds The Walker (2004) which was reviewed in Pitchfork to high acclaim, and their first self-titled (2003).
Having once been a Chicago-based collaboration of up to five women all hailing from Decatur, Illinois, the music of Spires That In The Sunset Rise is now the more intimate yet expansive expression of long time members Kathleen Baird and Taralie Peterson, now living in Brooklyn, NY and Madison, WI. Toying with certain traditions but never fully embracing one, STITSR remains a truly unique vision of the personal and mystical. STITSR has shared bills with John Zorn, Espers, Six Organs of Admittance, Josef Van Wissem, The Incredible String Band, Daniel Higgs, Jack Rose, Arrington Dionyso, Larkin Grimm, Melissa Nadler, Lucky Dragons, Charlambides, MV/EE, Faun Fables, Samara Lubelski, P.G. Six, Evangelista, Kawabata Makoto, Bert Jansch, Lichens, Paul Metzger, and others.
“Bending the barriers between ritual folk and spiritual experimental compositions, Spires that in the Sunset Rise present beautiful hymns built around vocals and acoustic instrumentation. Bowing, droning backing provide a suitably eerie key for emotional vocal performances. As their instrumental sequences expand and repeat, the group build intense experiences that squarely place mystical expressions within the reach of clear, rational understanding. A lone vocal, a series of percussive beats, a set of swelling strings; in these elements, Spires that in the Sunset Rise execute mysterious, beautiful phrasing in a way that is perfectly accessible. For this reason, their vision is clear, their destination is easy to follow, and their intense experience is also immensely enjoyable.” Album of the Year – Nicholas Zettel, Foxy Digitalis
“This album is gorgeous. It is dramatic, and witchy, and bounces around a million different instruments – intermixed with thunder, rain, and insect noises. I want to call the four corners with this album.” – Vice
“… this feels like some of the most personal avant extensions of Gothic American country in an age.” – Volcanic Tongue
“… they approach everything with such a pure spirit of invention that their music conjures its own culture. The new album’s five long songs have some of the time-suspending properties of Tony Conrad’s minimalist drones, some of the unsettled otherworldliness of Kendra Smith or Current 93, and some of the transhuman evocations of nature you find in Mongolian and Siberian music—plus something that belongs entirely to Spires That in the Sunset Rise and isn’t available anywhere else (believe me, I’ve looked).” – Chicago Reader
“their magic comes from a place full of sounds that whisper to the spirit; they can take you to the depth where for sure consciousness wanders in bliss. so fast and without realizing we fly fast to another reality, their reality…. every musical detail feels like being in a forest full of sacred plants to play with.” – Microphones In The Trees