Oct 15, 2023, 5pm

Dick Slessig Combo


On the occasion of Mike Kelley: Ghost and Spirit, a new travelling retrospective devoted to one of America’s most influential artists of the late twentieth-early twenty-first centuries at the Bourse de Commerce — Pinault Collection, Paris, Blank Forms presents a series of concerts reflecting the importance of music in the work of Kelley's work. 

Since their 1990 debut at a downtown Los Angeles loft party, where a version of the Sandals’s “Theme from The Endless Summer” spontaneously mushroomed into a ninety- minute exercise in self-mesmerism, the Dick Slessig Combo has stupefied audiences worldwide with their pseudo-structuralist approach to the interpretation of popular song. One of the main creative outputs of guitarist—and one-time lead fabricator for the Kelley studio—Mark Lightcap since the winding down of the sun-soaked rock trio Acetone in the early 2000s, Slessig existed quietly for four decades, peeking its head out occasionally, maintaining a somewhat cryptic presence through sporadic performances, infrequent releases, and an occasionally-updated SoundCloud cache of live recordings. Their music is simultaneously expansive and reductive, drawing on influences including Chet Atkins, Terry Riley, Isaac Hayes, Javanese gamelan, skipping records, and ’70s disco, all filtered through a decidedly ramshackle, garage-rock sensibility. In his 2019 book The Wichita Lineman: Searching in the Sun for the World'’s Greatest Unfinished Song, Dylan Jones describes Slessig's 2002 recording of the Jimmy Webb hit as "the longest version of any song you've ever heard, elongated and slowed down so that it sounds even more like a lament, with a hyphen of silence between each note." Critic Greil Marcus succinctly captured the feelings of listeners in his response to their rendition of George McCrae’s “Rock Your Baby” at the Portland Art Museum in 2000: "I could listen to that forever.” For this performance, the trio will feature regulars Mark Lightcap (guitar) and Steve Goodfriend (drums), joined by Stanley Lightcap (bass). 

See also, Marginal Consort and Sun Ra Arkestra + KESSWA