When: Sat., Oct. 22, 9:30 p.m. 2011
It's a project driven by keyboards that swell and recede, as Ryan Gustafson—better known for spells in Boxbomb, Light Pines and with his own sad-eyed country-rock—explores the wide-open expanses of synth music. Some songs by The Daughter is Ambiguous tap an industrial vein ("Grammar School"), while others offer gentle NPR-ready waltzes ("Osiris//:\\My Dance"), dreamy new age minimalism overlaid with goofy yet serious guided meditations ("Imagine/:\Yourself") and dramatic vocal fugues reminiscent of The Dirty Projectors over moody cabaret shuffles ("Gloria"). They're all available on Gustafson's site (thedaughterisambiguous.com), where he's been posting roughly a song each week for the last couple months.
"I've listened to a lot of classical music—the more modern, minimalist guys and on into the more experimental realm," he says. "That played a little role, like, 'Can I do this?'"
He started learning to play organ and synthesizers in a dedicated manner this spring after fooling around on them for years. Frequently, the tunes sound like auditions for movie soundtracks, and Gustafson won't deny his curiosity. "I would love to do that. Unfortunately, I don't know a lot of people in the film world," he says. "Mostly I'm just trying to expand and challenge myself."
He's already collected eight songs on the site, but for the moment, he has no interest in releasing an album, preferring to immerse himself in the process and not the product. "The only goal," he says, "is to explore, create and on to the next one as soon as that one's on the site." The Daughter is Ambiguous joins Michael Pisaro and Greg Stuart. —Chris Parker