On his 2nd solo album, Sympathizer, Michael Roberts (of Wooden Dinosaur and The Rear Defrosters) takes us into the woods to wonder at the ways humans make sense of their place in the world. In nine simple folk songs, Roberts takes us on a meandering journey through field and forest, where animals, trees, and landscapes serve as the subjects and objects of narratives which question what it means to connect to outdoor spaces in a time of rapid technological advancement.
Sympathizer is Roberts’s most stripped-down album in over a decade. In the middle of the pandemic, Roberts was offered some recording time at Guilford Sound, a world-class recording studio that his neighbor runs. Due to pandemic restrictions, Roberts put together a new band on short notice, and with no rehearsal time, the five-piece group spent just two nights recording. The result is an album that feels fragile but adventurous, nostalgic about the past, but hopeful about the future. Sympathizer is the sound of musicians remembering how to communicate as musicians again.
Sympathizer is out February 18 on Lost Honey Records.
Artist Statement from Kristian Brevik, who will be discussing his work, which will be hanging in the cafe, to kick off the evening:
My scientific work looks at the role of epigenetics and transposable elements on the rapid evolution of insect pests, whose evolution is largely driven by human activity (farming, spraying insecticides, changing the climate). Insecticide resistance is a prime example of rapid evolutionary change brought on by humans - and provides us with an ideal “natural” experiment to examine. I integrate data science, bioinformatics, and a variety of genomic and statistical tools to answer questions about how insects evolve.
My art explores the interactions between humans and other-than-humans, by highlighting the commonalities of form shared by ships and whales, by wondering about the ways we shape each other; through domestication, eating each other, and changing each others experience of the world, increasingly through extinction. Some of my recent projects focus on the entanglements between whales and humans, and the ways in which how we experience the lives of others through art may shape our attitudes and behaviors.