Choirs of Aether

Bow Thayer presents “ Choirs of Aether,” a project that explores the boundaries of traditional music and things undiscovered. As Thayer puts it, “I have always been very interested in improvisational music. It is essentially the way I learned music theory. That is, by playing with other musicians, intuitively by ear, and then later having what was created, explained to me by more knowledgeable players and teachers.” With the advent of his signature Bojotar, Thayer finds himself back at square one again: “I have discovered a way to break out of the mold of traditional six string guitar and five string banjo by fusing the two and using predominantly open tunings. I have never been one to follow written instruction - rather, my approach is to jump into a situation with pure abandon. After about two years of writing with this new instrument and variations of it, I am finally getting comfortable enough to travel into the realm of improv.” 

Back in the summer of 2017, Thayer was invited to play a set during The Discovery Jazz Fest in Burlington, VT. To commemorate this special event, Thayer decided to tackle the avant world of Sun Ra and his Arkestra: “Sun Ra was so forward-thinking and open that he was able to compose music that could be performed communally, allowing each musician to contribute their own creative expression. Some of his recordings may be too ‘out there’ for all to comprehend, but pure, unmitigated expression and joy was always the result. Although we have different backgrounds and instrumentation, and I lack his unparalleled sense of intergalactic tonal intervals, we share a prolific desire to make weird music. Choirs of Aether started as a tribute to Sun Ra, but will now forge ahead as a cosmic exploration of my original music, both new and old.” 

It may be easy to categorize Choirs of Aether as Thayer’s new “jam band” side project, but that label may close the doors on a endeavor that was founded with the intent to jam the doors open. As Thayer explains, “Of course I will continue to write songs and perform them with intended arrangements under my name, but this project focuses on the collaboration and musical interplay/language with the multitude of musicians and artists I have met along the way. It continues the long tradition of breaking tradition, and celebrates humanity’s unquenched desire to explore present time expression and improvisation.” Starting with the live release of a performance of a full set of Sun Ra music at the 2017 No Town festival in Stockbridge, Vermont, Choirs of Aether is launched. 

Please feel free to download and share as much as you like. Any and all donations will go directly to current and future projects.

Musicians:  

  • Bow Thayer - Bojotar, synth Bojo, synthesizer, vocals. percussion  
  • Alex Abraham - acoustic bass, vocals  
  • Jeff Berlin - percussion  
  • Steve Ferraris - percussion  
  • Chazz Canney - tenor sax, alto sax, flute, trumpet  
  • Bela Shug - vocals  

Recorded and mixed by Matt Lillie at No Town 2017, Stockbridge, VT  
Mastered by Alex McCollough at True East Mastering, Nashville, TN  
Produced by Bow Thayer  
Artwork by Bow Thayer and River Thayer

The music of sun ra back cover