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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Concert Preview

    How does a string quartet sell out shows around the world performing cover songs? Is this some kind of gimmick?

    Nope. This is the Section Quartet, a group of classically trained rock musicians from Los Angeles.

    After touring Europe and the United States- taking the main stage twice at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival – violinists Eric Gorfain and Daphne Chen, violist Leah Katz and cellist Richard Dodd have evolved from a studio project to a full-fledged band.

    Their appeal has little to do with novelty and everything to do with Gorfain’s masterful arrangements, with repertoire ranging from songs by The Postal Service and Soundgarden to entire concept albums like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Radiohead’s OK Computer.

    Far from ephemeral, the chamber rockers have released 17 albums since Gorfain and Dodd first collaborated on a Led Zeppelin tribute album in 1998. After joining forces with Chen and Katz in 2002, the quartet has dedicated albums of music by a throng of bands, most notably Tool and Nine Inch Nails. “”It wasn’t premeditated,”” Gorfain said. “”Although if it was, it would have saved me a lot of time.””

    While recording Fuzzbox (2007), the first album in which the band performs as the Section Quartet, it begins to experiment with effects: Chorus pedals and delays of varying lengths give the otherwise acoustic instruments an atmospheric sheen.

    For their rendition of The Strokes hit “”Juicebox,”” the string players created the percussion part with their instruments and recorded it as a drum loop, over which they added a rhythmic cello line and squealing violin riffs. “”We used the recording studio as an instrument,”” Gorfain said, accounting for the full sound.

    Even so, he insists the Section Quartet’s music is best experienced live. “”We’re nowhere near an ordinary string quartet or an ordinary rock band,”” he said.

    Indeed, they inhabit somewhat of a borderland between the classical and rock worlds.

    Most bands have set lists; the Section Quartet has an almost-formal recital program. Only instead of concertos by Mendelssohn or Ravel – Gorfain’s choice composers – tonight’s performance will feature Radiohead’s OK Computer, which he considers an opus in its own right.

    “”(Radiohead) is very orchestral – they just happen to use rock instruments,”” he said.

    The album’s composition is so complex, in fact, that it cannot be entirely adapted for the quartet. “”We actually have to leave stuff out.””

    Anticipating tonight’s show, which will also include songs by Muse, Led Zeppelin and The Strokes, Gorfain advises concertgoers to expect the unexpected. “”Fans of any of those bands are sure to enjoy themselves – and everyone’s encouraged to sing along.””

    The Section Quartet will be featured on KXCI’s “”Live at Five”” today at 5 p.m., before its 7 p.m. performance at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Tickets are $10 for this all-ages show.

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