By: SIMONE FOHRMAN
Denver’s local music scene is made up of a vast network of small circles, and while each of these nuclei express themselves differently, they actively cross pollinate– exchanging resources, thoughts, and ideas that spur on the creativity of the local scene. This open-minded, fluid atmosphere has given birth to the genre-defying, innovative group Tansy Wine.
This self proclaimed “star-gaze, chlorophyll-core jazz pop quintet” stands out as one of the few jazz groups in town with an experimental edge. All of the band’s members are formally trained, yet their music flows beyond the formulaic constraints of music theory and common jazz standards. Their songs consistently surprise the ear as they weave between catchy pop verses, moments of ecstatic noise, intricately designed instrumentals, and discordant, wavering interludes.
Their music feels inviting–it’s easy to connect to. The witty, good humored lyrics tell a relatable story, touching on a sense of apocalyptic dread and an apprehension of our current dystopian reality. The verses are laced in between expansive melodies that project the listener through a wormhole into a surrealist reality–almost akin to a lucid dream– vibrant and abundant with alien lifeforms and vivid, otherworldly landscapes. And through it all, an optimistic attitude towards the future anchors the audience back down to Earth by the end of the performance.
A spoken word verse of Tansy Wine’s eponymous song hints at the spirit of the project. Lead singer and songwriter Sofia Nehama recites,
“After a long flight through stars
I arrived on a strange new Earth, exhausted
I lay down on a tall Avalonian rock
and it swallowed me like some carnivorous silken Gollum
I was astonished by the texture of the mountains, softer than dandelions
harder than the bones of Cronus
and never one or the other
only both at once.”
The verse seems to describe, in allegorical terms, a new world that has come to life peacefully and quietly, bearing not only the fruits of existence but also the warning signs of indulgence. The song feels like a manifestation of Sofia Nehama’s vision for the band– a project not to be used as a route for escapism, but rather an experience that can help broaden our perspectives.
The next Tansy Wine show is February 5th at Enigma Bazaar. Look out for more on this band soon!