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Courtyard Concert Series | Endless Forms

From left: Robert Redmond, Jessica Lee, Justin Allen, Joe Moore

When Endless Forms stopped by the Voice’s Courtyard, singer/guitarist Justin Allen spoke with me about music as an evocative nebula that mines feeling from the deepest parts of our psyche. The same could be said to describe Endless Forms itself. Allen’s introspective baritone is cradled in a wash of delayed guitar tones and synthesizers, where rhythms emerge like a guiding light in fog. The atmospherics could easily become overpowering without the careful restraint employed by each member of the band.

Endless Forms’ songs gradually build in tension and power before washing away and blending into the next piece. The greatest illusion of music—whose primary vehicle is time—is that time is malleable, or doesn’t exist at all. Endless Forms rides the Theory of Relativity like a wave into space to observe life back home from that all-but-impossible perspective.

Find Endless Forms’ album Lazarus on iTunes, Spotify, and Soundcloud.

First song learned:

I think it was “She Don’t Use Jelly” by the Flaming Lips. The chords are really easy. You can kinda just barely get it, and then you just play it over and over again until you can play it really fast.

Last song played on Spotify:

I can’t remember the name of the song, but it was by the 90s shoegaze band All Natural Lemon & Lime Flavors.

Desert island discs:

I’m probably going to have to go with The Suburbs by Arcade Fire, Takk by Sigur Ros, and I’m gonna say Eternity Sunrise by John Tavener, who’s s sacred choral music composer.

Best show ever in Tulsa:

Local Natives at Cain’s. There was kind of a raw energy to it. I think that it was the first time they could headline a tour, and so there was a lot of excitement and electricity around feeling like people liked their music, and still this kind of youthful energy. I think they felt really excited to be there, and that was just contagious.

Most anticipated upcoming shows:

I saw that M83 is coming in October to the Brady, and I really want to go to that. And then Beach House is going to be in Columbia, Missouri, and the four of us [in Endless Forms] are talking about going  to that.

Most memorable show played:

There was one house show that we played around Christmastime, and sometimes house shows can be kind of hard, depending on the crowd. People can just talk through your entire set because it’s low-key and casual. But this one was quiet, the crowd was pretty small but it was all people we knew intimately, so when we were playing there was a sense that there was a lot of respect for the songs we were playing and a lot of willingness to really hear them and process them and let it wash over them.

Dream venue:

I would love to play Cain’s. Bands like Wilco, it’s their favorite venue. It brings out a really great crowd. I just love Cain’s. It connects back to Tulsa’s musical roots while also fostering a new wave of artistic energy that’s just now budding in Tulsa. It stands in the balance there.

Non-musical influence:

I’m a huge fan of the performance artist Marina Abramović. She did a piece several years ago called “The Artist is Present,” where she just sat with whoever would come sit with her. And the idea was just complete and total presence. And people would just sit down and weep. It was just presence as art, and that was a really huge idea for me.

Music is:

Music to me is almost the most spiritual thing that you can experience physically. You can’t see it, you can’t feel it, but at the same time, just frequencies through time can raise these huge swelling emotions in us and allow us to see parts of ourselves that we couldn’t see. But where is it? I think it’s just manifest spirit. It’s nebulous but it’s also measurable. It’s scientific but it probably escapes our physical experience more than any other sense.