Music News

Textures Celebrates One Year of Bringing Ambient Music to New Audiences

When Wesley Davis decided to reboot his Textures: Ambient Music Showcase in 2013, after its 2009-to-2012 run at Gypsy House Café, he wanted it to take place at a venue that might expose that music to people who weren't necessarily seeking it out. He found the perfect venue in Mutiny Information Cafe, located on a busy corner in the middle of Denver. Since June 2014, every last Sunday of the month, Textures has featured some of the best local artists making music that can loosely be considered ambient.

“You can drop in or leave,” says Davis. “That's why I wanted to do it there. I felt like it was a good way to bring it to the public some more. The whole idea for all of us is to bring it to people who don't know what it's about.”

Davis grew up in the Colorado Springs area, but moved to California and to Seattle in the late '80s and played trumpet in a variety of experimental bands over the years. In 2004, he debuted Textures at a coffee shop called the Living Room, where it ran for six months before he moved back to Colorado in 2005.

His wife, Jewl, was involved in belly-dancing and had connected with the women who run Gypse House Cafe in Denver. Davis found a space to restart Textures in the dark and mysterious basement. Eventually, Gypsy House's P.A. burned out, around the same time that Davis felt like the ambient music he was showcasing might find an audience outside of the literal and figurative underground.

Davis caught a four-hour ambient session by electronic group Mondo Obscura at Mutiny in 2014, and it inspired him to approach Jim Norris about setting up the event. A year later, it's still running strong.

For this weekend's anniversary show, Davis is bringing in synth prodigy Kuxaan Sum with his typically unique, one-time-only performance and Shroud, the ritual drone project of former Munly & the Lupercalians percussionist Benjamin Krajenke. Davis will also perform himself as Bios+a+ic Sounds. At the show, Davis will also release his latest album, cloudLanD, which he recorded from 2005 to 2008 while living in Nederland. The albums was inspired in part by Isabel M. Becker's 2004 book Nederland: A Trip To Cloudland.

“I'd been wanting to do a pure ambient album that's really mellow for a long time,” says Davis. “It's scientifically designed to be a meditative, relaxation type of album. It's three tracks...the first is: you get home and you've had your day and you need to relax a bit. It kind of incorporates a general heartbeat pulse of where you would be and chaotic thoughts that resolve a little bit over the time of the album.

"The second track is like you're relaxed and then you're getting ready for bed. The third track is: You're ready for bed and you want to sleep. It actually worked. It took me a long time to master and produce it because I would nod off. I recorded it seven or eight years ago today and I didn't add anything because I tried to get the objective perspective on how I wanted to present it, as smooth, presentable and no sharp edges. The goal is to at least get you to be able to relax or meditate.”

Certainly the music showcased at Textures is often meditative and soothing, but the sheer diversity of the genre as exists in Denver ensures that no edition of Textures is boring.

If you'd like to contact me, Tom Murphy, on Twitter, my handle is @simianthinker.
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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.