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May 14, 2014

B-sides

Beauty and the beast 

Harlan native Chervon Koeune, who performs as vocalist and sound stylist Cher Von, has had a busy 2014 — playing and organizing shows, and releasing a new EP, Klik. Klak. Why so busy? “Making up for lost time!” she says. “I felt so creatively stagnant for years, and now there is a strong sense of urgency … I’m sure I’ll have to learn a hard lesson about saying ‘yes’ to everything — eventually.”

LEO: Can you describe your process?

CV: The recordings and live performances rely heavily on improvisation. When I decide to record a song, it starts as a very bare-bones concept, usually having more to do with instrumentation and combining found sounds that complement each other, and not so much a narrative or song structure.

Performing these songs, being unable to recreate all of the layers that are heard in the recordings, has been a whole other experiment. There are many versions of each song when I perform them, most of which don’t even attempt to sound like the original other than a familiar melody here and there. As I’ve started to perform more often, I’m really happy with this approach, because I don’t get sick of playing the same song over and over.

LEO: While grounded in experimentalism, your music also has accessibility and an undeniable beauty. Do you straddle worlds intentionally?

CV: It’s somewhat intentional and also happens that way organically. While I do enjoy a good splash of drone and free noise, I tend to gravitate more toward melodic experimental music with lots of movement. It’s what I listen to the most.

LEO: How do you feel about the state of experimental music locally?

CV: The more I come across, the more I’m impressed. Discovering these folks has actually inspired me to host monthly shows that showcase local experimental artists, just so I can get these guys in a room regularly … There seems to be an open and attentive audience for experimenters here, from what I’ve experienced, and I think it will just keep getting better.

Cher Von plays Friday at Haymarket Whiskey Bar and Saturday at OPEN Gallery.