Denver's Experimental Music Scene Is Exploding — Here Are 56 Reasons Why

Page 27 | house show / birthday party | July 1, 2010
Page 27 | house show / birthday party | July 1, 2010
Tom Murphy

Experimental and avant-garde music has been a significant part of the Denver music world since at least the early 1980s, despite a relative lack of attention in the press and certainly little airplay. Today, this city's experimental music scene is far larger than you might expect.

We've pulled together a photographic list of more than fifty artists who're intrinsic to that scene right now. 

This isn't a complete list — nothing close. Rather, it includes foundational artists who continue to regularly perform. Emerging artists who are active and making some of the most innovative music in Colorado are definitely featured; many noteworthy young experimental artists have emerged in the last few years. This list also includes artists who advocate for their peers, whether through booking shows and events — such as Claudia Woodman of Claudzilla, Gabe Temeyosa of Kuxaan Sum, Randall Frazier of Orbit Service and Wesley Davis of Entropic Advance and Bios+a+ic Sounds. Gabe Stoll of Mystic Bummer, in addition to creating forward-thinking electronic music, has put together one of the longest-running experimental music compilations with his Wet Pizza series. Ryan Peru of Mondo Obscura, as well as other video artists, are establishing a developing multi-media aesthetic that makes witnessing even the most abstract music a rich sensory experience.

There are also some notable, and conscious, omissions, incluing an artist key to the development of experimental music in Denver: Dave Licthenberg, aka Little Fyodor. That's because his band today is one of the most punk of punk bands, and you can enjoy his music merely on that level. Other bands like The Inactivists, Voight, Church Fire, Pale Sun, Altas and DéCollage certainly have more than just a leg in the experimental world but also have obvious commercial potential.

Whether you're listening to noise, ambient, avant-garde, experimental electronic, No Wave, immersive sound environment, avant-prog, free improv or even more difficult to classify music, Denver's experimental scene is broad, vibrant and diverse — a scene where visual artists and musicians regularly collaborate and are often one and the same.

A23P and Acidbat (L-R) | Exdo Event Center | March 14, 2015
A23P and Acidbat (L-R) | Exdo Event Center | March 14, 2015
Tom Murphy
Animal / object | The Toad Tavern | May 7, 2015
Animal / object | The Toad Tavern | May 7, 2015
Tom Murphy
Bang Play | Glob | May 20, 2015
Bang Play | Glob | May 20, 2015
Tom Murphy
Bios+a+ic Sounds | Mutiny Information Café | June 28, 2015
Bios+a+ic Sounds | Mutiny Information Café | June 28, 2015
Tom Murphy
Blackcell | Hyperspace | February 7, 2015
Blackcell | Hyperspace | February 7, 2015
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Bollywood Life | Sidewinder Tavern | December 13, 2013
Bollywood Life | Sidewinder Tavern | December 13, 2013
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Captain Howdy | Mutiny Information Café | August 31, 2014
Captain Howdy | Mutiny Information Café | August 31, 2014
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Carrot Eater | Mutiny Information Café | December 28, 2014
Carrot Eater | Mutiny Information Café | December 28, 2014
Tom Murphy
Champion | Hi-Dive | June 5, 2014
Champion | Hi-Dive | June 5, 2014
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Chase Dobson | 3 Kings Tavern | November 20, 2014
Chase Dobson | 3 Kings Tavern | November 20, 2014
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Claudzilla | The Skylark Lounge | October 29, 2015
Claudzilla | The Skylark Lounge | October 29, 2015
Chuck Holt
Cloudless Rain
Cloudless Rain
Erin Christensen-Mandel
Cop Circles | Glob | May 20, 2015
Cop Circles | Glob | May 20, 2015
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Crablab | Sidewinder Tavern | December 13, 2013
Crablab | Sidewinder Tavern | December 13, 2013
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Curta | Hi-Dive | June 5, 2014
Curta | Hi-Dive | June 5, 2014
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Data Rainbow | Leisure | September 26, 2015
Data Rainbow | Leisure | September 26, 2015
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David Mead | Deer Pile | April 26, 2015
David Mead | Deer Pile | April 26, 2015
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Death In Space | Leisure | September 26, 2015
Death In Space | Leisure | September 26, 2015
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Dugout Canoe | Glob | July 31, 2015
Dugout Canoe | Glob | July 31, 2015
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Echo Beds | Rhinoceropolis | July 19, 2015
Echo Beds | Rhinoceropolis | July 19, 2015
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Formant | The Toad Tavern | May 7, 2015
Formant | The Toad Tavern | May 7, 2015
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French Kettle Station | Milk | April 11, 2015
French Kettle Station | Milk | April 11, 2015
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Hamster Theatre
Hamster Theatre
Hamster Theatre Facebook
Hippies Wearing Muzzles | Rhinoceropolis | October 22, 2015
Hippies Wearing Muzzles | Rhinoceropolis | October 22, 2015
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Itchy-O | Mercury Café | November 15, 2014
Itchy-O | Mercury Café | November 15, 2014
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Janet Feder
Janet Feder
Kid Mask | Lost Lake | February 5, 2015
Kid Mask | Lost Lake | February 5, 2015
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Killd By | Leisure | September 26, 2015
Killd By | Leisure | September 26, 2015
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Kuxaan Sum | Mutiny Information Café | June 28, 2015
Kuxaan Sum | Mutiny Information Café | June 28, 2015
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Mark Mosher | Mutiny Information Café | April 26, 2015
Mark Mosher | Mutiny Information Café | April 26, 2015
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Keldari Station | Walnut Room | October 30, 2015
Keldari Station | Walnut Room | October 30, 2015
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Mirror Fears | Hyperspace | June 12, 2015
Mirror Fears | Hyperspace | June 12, 2015
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Mondo Obscura | The Sugar Shack | May 3, 2015
Mondo Obscura | The Sugar Shack | May 3, 2015
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Morlox (with Church Fire) | Rhinoceropolis | March 13, 2015
Morlox (with Church Fire) | Rhinoceropolis | March 13, 2015
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Mystic Bummer | Rhinoceropolis | June 7, 2014
Mystic Bummer | Rhinoceropolis | June 7, 2014
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Night Grinder | Lonely House | January 30, 2015
Night Grinder | Lonely House | January 30, 2015
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Of Earth and Sun | Lost Lake | August 12, 2015
Of Earth and Sun | Lost Lake | August 12, 2015
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Orbit Service | Walnut Room | April 4, 2015
Orbit Service | Walnut Room | April 4, 2015
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Radere | Deer Pile | April 26, 2015
Radere | Deer Pile | April 26, 2015
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Running Niwot | Madelife | 2014
Running Niwot | Madelife | 2014
Photo courtesy Madelife
Shroud | Carioca Café | March 25, 2015
Shroud | Carioca Café | March 25, 2015
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Sister Grotto | Deer Pile | April 26, 2015
Sister Grotto | Deer Pile | April 26, 2015
Tom Murphy
Sleepwalk Cinema | Mutiny Information Café | May 23, 2014
Sleepwalk Cinema | Mutiny Information Café | May 23, 2014
Tom Murphy
Snails and Oysters | Walnut Room | July 1, 2015
Snails and Oysters | Walnut Room | July 1, 2015
Tom Murphy
Sole (of Whitenoise) | GNU: Experience Gallery | April 27, 2013
Sole (of Whitenoise) | GNU: Experience Gallery | April 27, 2013
Tom Murphy
Sterile Garden | The Toad Tavern | May 7, 2015
Sterile Garden | The Toad Tavern | May 7, 2015
Tom Murphy
Sugarsplat | Glob | May 20, 2015
Sugarsplat | Glob | May 20, 2015
Tom Murphy
Thinking Plague | Oriental Theater | January 15, 2015
Thinking Plague | Oriental Theater | January 15, 2015
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Thug Entrancer | Deep Club | May 10, 2014
Thug Entrancer | Deep Club | May 10, 2014
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Tjutjuna | Savoy | August 16, 2014
Tjutjuna | Savoy | August 16, 2014
Tom Murphy
Tommy Metz (as Iuengliss) | Rhinoceropolis | February 14, 2014
Tommy Metz (as Iuengliss) | Rhinoceropolis | February 14, 2014
Tom Murphy
TripLip
TripLip
TripLip Facebook
2Kwhatever | Glob | November 2, 2015
2Kwhatever | Glob | November 2, 2015
Tom Murphy
Victoria Lundy | Walnut Room | October 30, 2015
Victoria Lundy | Walnut Room | October 30, 2015
Tom Murphy
Weird Al Qaeda | Mutiny Information Café | December 13, 2014
Weird Al Qaeda | Mutiny Information Café | December 13, 2014
Tom Murphy

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