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Calculated Carelessness

Okkervil River guitarist Lauren Gurgiolo gets arty
Jim Caligiuri, 3:35pm, Wed. May. 1, 2013

Anyone can throw a CD release party, but Lauren Gurgiolo decided to do something a bit different. To celebrate the new album by the group she leads, the Dialtones’ Calculated Carelessness, she’s organized a multimedia installation at the Museum of Human Achievement. It runs this week only, Thursday through Sunday, three times a night.

Musically, Gurgiolo’s perhaps best known as the guitarist for Okkervil River. She says inspiration for Calculated Carelessness arrived from an unlikely source – Kierkegaard’s The Seducer’s Diary.

Using deconstructed parts of the book for lyrics, she composed seven new songs. The installation thus follows the dreamlike nature of The Seducer’s Diary, with remixes of some of that music enhanced by projection and interactive sculpture.

“The nature of the music and the project didn’t feel quite right playing them with a band,” she explains. “They came from a different place. There needed to be other components.

“I heard about the City of Austin Arts Fund grant, applied for it, and got it. From there it took off. I started talking to people. We all worked together on how we wanted to portray the concept.

“And when it came down to the specifics, every artist has their own role – their own place in the installation.”

In the spirit of things, Gurgiolo decided to host the event at the Museum of Human Achievement, whose address can usually be obtained only by email. “It’s generally a membership-only thing,” she says. “People seem to find it. I enjoyed the mystique about it.”

Spotlighting the Dialtones’ music in this manner might not be an entirely new idea. Artists like Los Lobos and Terry Allen have recently executed similar ideas combining music and art, so Gurgiolo finds herself in heady company.

“Because recorded music is easy to come by and not quite valued in the same way it used to be, I feel that live shows are more valued. People are making their live shows more unique and audiences value that experience more.”

We couldn’t let Gurgiolo get away without asking about Okkervil River, which has been on hiatus for a year or so. She reports that there’s a mastered album in the can, recorded locally at Church House Studios with producer John Agnello. A release date hasn’t been determined.

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