Evolving from their hybrid of world music and industrial rock that defined their sound in the late 90’s through 2005, Seattle based Abney Park is now fully, blissfully and musically immersed in the fascinating subculture of Steampunk, an artistic movement reflecting the futuristic sensibility of those living in an era where steam power was widely used—usually 19th century Victorian era England.
Creating a fascinating back story for themselves as a band of roving time travelers and airship pirates, the five members of the eclectic group come from an era where airships waged war in the skies and corsets and cummerbunds were proper adventuring attire. The endlessly fascinating ten tracks of their latest CD Lost Horizons perfectly reflect the way they’ve picked up their edgy and exotic musical habits, scoundrelous musicians and anachronistically hybridized instruments from dozens of locations and eras they have visited in their extensive travels.
The collection, whose title is a tribute to the first-ever paperback adventure novel written by British author James Hilton and published in 1933, is a musical reflection of the story of a group of people on the road to the mystical, harmonious valley of Shangri-La, a place lost in time and unaffected by the outside world. Musically, it weaves an expansive tapestry of different styles from an eclectic slate of time periods—from strains of classic Irish folk music and the Middle Eastern percussion music from Turkey and India to Arab Andalusian sounds, gypsy music fused with edgy rock, flamenco, contemporary trip-hop, electronica, dance, industrial and punk.
All of this is carried off with powerful flair by the “Dread Captain Robert”, lead vocalist, songwriter, darbuka player and pilot; Kristina “Angel” Erickson, keyboardist, vocalist, navigator, accountant, skeptic; Daniel “It was supposed to explode” C, bassist, master of gadgets and gizmos, flintlocks and too many fire extinguishers; Finn Von Claret, dancer and backing vocalist who specializes in writhing and wailing and Nathaniel “Two Sheds” Johnstone, guitarist, violinist, stockroom manager and guy who doles out the shots (drinkable and otherwise).
While listening to Abney Park’s full discography from their self titled 1999 debut through classic releases like From Dreams Or Angels and Taxidermy is a cool way to chart a fascinating sonic evolution, the band’s powerful live show has made them a multi-sensory sensation across the U.S. with dates in the works throughout Europe and Australia. During their riotous dervish of a performance, fans—dressed like the band in Victorian adventuring attire, corsets, gators, bowlers, flight helmets, goggles, leather safari vests, big boots, et al—can expect clockwork guitars, belly dancers, flintlock bassists, Middle Eastern percussion, violent violin, and Tesla powered keyboards blazing in a post-apocalyptic, swashbuckling swirl of Steampunk musical mayhem.
In recent years, Abney Park has performed at festivals like Dragon*Con, Saturnalia, Utah Dark Arts, Bats Day, Convergence, Mask and Veil, and Maker’s Fair; each of these audiences numbers from 50-50,000. Adding to the intensely interactive band-audience experience is the store on their website www.abneypark.com that sells band paraphernalia and Steampunk attire like leather flight helmets, airship crew dogtags, safari clothing and swallowtail safari vests, among other fascinating gear, and of course, their music.