Theta Naught 

Salt Lake City's Theta Naught return stronger, more eclectic and creative.

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After nearly a decade as a cohesive and influential Salt Lake City band, the members of Theta Naught are no strangers to the changes and experimentation in local music. Having lasted longer than most recognizable and stalwart Utah acts, the classically trained ensemble has released some of the most emotionally provocative compositions to come out of Salt Lake City in the past decade, and are capping off their eighth year together with a long-awaited new full-length album, poised to be their finest to date.

Starting out in 2002 as an “improvisational instrumental experiment,” the original trio of drummer Darren Corey, cellist Peter Romney and bassist Ryan Stanfield composed Theta Naught’s debut EP, Something Scientific, in 2003. Selected tracks gained airplay on KRCL 90.9 FM, and a quickly growing audience prompted the band to record its 2004 album, Abacus.

Over time, the trio would amplify themselves by bringing in new members such as Greg Corey on lap-slide and Jared Stanfield on bass to create the foundation of the group we know today.

Almost immediately after recording their third album, Sound Weave, in 2006, three of the collective headed to California and Washington to pursue graduate school, forcing the group to only play scattered shows with replacement members for nearly three years, a period that had Theta Naught incorporating guitar, violin and harp into their evolving lineup.

The time apart ultimately made the band stronger, more eclectic and creative in nature.

“Playing together for eight years has created an amazing bond between the backbone members,” says Stanfield. “Our bond is primarily musical, but has extended into our social and familial realms. Spending so much time driving around the country to tour and play music either makes enemies or close friends out of each other.”

They started working on their latest album, Omnium-Gatherum, in 2006, with no clear idea of what it would become. It was a complete change of pace for a group that usually finished recording new works within a few months. The album took several sessions, stretched over long periods of time, to perfect their improvisational sound in-studio.

The result is a powerful score showing symphonic growth—elegant and enchanting from the start. Shifting from classically refined movements to unpredictable jazz to pure rock beats, this is one of the finest local instrumental albums we’ll probably hear for years to come. And if the optimism of the group is any indication, there’s a lot more where this came from. 

Theta Naught will appear on Park City TV at 6 p.m. Thursday, and on KRCL 90.9 FM at 9 p.m. Friday. Upcoming CD release shows include a free acoustic gig Nov. 12 at Nobrow Coffee & Tea Co. (215 E. 300 South) at 7 p.m., with Emily Allen and The Penalty Strokes, and Nov. 13 at Bar Deluxe (666 S. State) at 8 p.m. with I Hear Sirens and REPO, $6

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