Excursions With The Gravity Quartet

by Adam McKinney for OLY ARTS

Local music scenes like Olympia’s can’t always support bands built on classical influences. From a purely economic standpoint, not many struggling musicians can afford string or woodwind instruments like cellos or oboes, and audiences tend not to be as inclined to come out on a weekend to hear music that requires more patience than your standard guitar rock.

The Gravity Quartet is an exception. Made up of Christine Gunn on cello, Ingrid Ferris on vocals and oboe, Giles Arendt on guitar and Robin Toye on percussion, The Gravity Quartet set its base on classical reference points before layering on touchstones from psychedelia, art-rock and multicultural folk. Gunn acts as composer, but each member contributes parts to the finished product, creating music that’s bigger than the sum of those parts.

“The instrumentation does a lot to channel the direction of the band,” says Gunn. “We all have a lot of influences that are lasting, besides the classical. There’s ’60s and ’70s progressive rock, as well…It’s the chemistry between us that drives the quartet. If I was playing solo, I might make the same parts, but we end up weaving together to create something that stands on its own in a different way.”

Friday brings the release party of The Gravity Quartet’s new, self-titled EP. The group continues to grow and tighten as a unit. Opener “Halcyone” is a galloping instrumental that could find its home in any Game of Thrones episode, while the penultimate “Abigail’s Waltz” reminds one of the spooky baroque-pop of (unjustly forgotten ’60s band) It’s a Beautiful Day’s “Girl With No Eyes.”

In between is meditation, fully equipped to carry the listener’s brain through misty moors and down rivulets of serenity. Mind the trails.

What: The Gravity Quartet EP Release Party

Where: Eagles Ballroom and Conference Center,
805 Fourth Ave. E, Olympia

When: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21

How much: free

Learn more: 360-239-9907 / TheGravityQuartet.com

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