ORGAN THING OF THE DAY: Now this is good, Understudy, new music from visual artist Lee Relvas, see, it doesn’t always have to be the same way…
Music video for “Understudy” by Aimee Goguen. Shot by Mariah Garnett.
From the EP titled Understudy by Rind. February 2014.
Traversing both the worlds of fine art and DIY noise, Lee Relvas’ music brings together aesthetic styles usually separated by invisible barriers of genre and culture. As a child she trained in choir and opera, but while living in Chicago she dived headlong into the vibrant experimental music and art scenes proliferating there, playing bass in the stoner-metal band Mayor Daley, DJing rowdy queer dance parties, and composing solo operas. The raw and intimate performances of these DIY scenes were not unlike her teen opera obsession, Maria Callas. As Lee notes, “The membrane between Maria Callas and her audience was so thin it almost didn’t exist.” This desired communication with an audience proved more inspirational than an attachment to the conventions of any one particular genre.
Since moving to Los Angeles, Relvas has begun writing and performing under the name Rind. Having left all her gear behind in Chicago, Rind embraces a necessary technological utilitarianism. Her music uses this minimalism to shorten the distance taken in translating heavy ideas to sound. Her fine art aspirations are filtered through the practical tools of electronic music to make for a startling and watery emotional richness. The resulting sound is an experimental mix of hard and soft textures; aggressively decayed beats, glacial bass lines, and anxious repetitive riffs paired with angular piano patterns and shivery violin sounds. These elements are constantly in a push/pull dialogue with her open-throated, bold singing that oscillates between intimate direct address and straight-to-the-rafters declamations. Relvas’ ability to make sharp turns from marshy psychosis to stark human sensuality owes to Understudy’s elegance and approachability.
Lee Relvas often incorporates visual elements into her performances, employing video projections, textiles, drawing and sculpture for a more total sensory experience, and has shown work everywhere from the Sculpture Center in Queens to Honor Fraser Gallery in Los Angeles. She continues to perform in basements and warehouses around the US, collaborating on a wide variety of projects- from performances with comics artist Edie Fake to compositions with Lauren Bousfield (formerly Nero’s Day At Disneyland). Understudy is an EP available for free through her website.”
Lee Relvas is an artist and musician who has a solo project called Rind.