Quinquennial Essentials with Above the Empire

Courtesy of the Artist

By: Thomas D. Mooney

Here around New Slang, we sometimes “steal” great (or at least interesting) ideas to use. This new feature would be one of those. Like Pitchfork’s 5-10-15-20 series, Quinquennial Essentials (quinquennial means every five years or something that lasts for five years, by the way) works the same way. We talk with artists about the music they were listening to (roughly) every five years.

When I first was talking to Tyler Hardy, 25, about what his instrumental solo project Above the Empire was  and what I should expect on Sunday night when he opened for Daniel Hart, he started off by informing me that it was all instrumental, it was all acoustic guitar, and was just one long thirty-minute piece that he’s been working on for roughly a year. He then paused and said, “You’ll just have to see it.”
Obviously, my first thoughts went a number of questions such as: A) How does he not get exhausted by the continuous play, B) Will this be the right setting, C) With there nothing like that here in Lubbock, how will the audience take it, D) Will they lose interest, etc
The the answer to that last question is easily no. Hardy went into his old world when he sat down with his guitar and took everyone in the room with him.
It is easily the most interesting music I’ve seen come from the Lubbock music scene while not being impractical, boring, or stale. But more importantly, he doesn’t glam and cheese it up with modern and monotonous power chords.
With his mix of classical, flamenco, Spanish, [insert other guitar styles here], he’s been able to create something captivating, and more than anything, something that doesn’t sound like anything else in Lubbock.

5-Amazing Grace A Capella

At the age of five, I was spending a lot of time with my great-grandmother, who was part of the Church of Christ, and everything sung in church is A Capella, so a lot of my first song memories are older hymns.

10-“I got a Girl”-Tripping Daisy from “I Am an Elastic Firecracker”

I didn’t really listen to much at this age but the country music my mother listened to. But, my first memory of hearing something that was totally different from what I was used to, was listening “I Got a Girl.” I remember I was in the backseat of my best friend’s sister’s car when I first heard it.





15-“Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness”-Smashing Pumpkins

I was kind of in a strange place in my life at this time where music was the only thing I had to retreat in to. Everything about this album connected with me then.




20-“Hold Your Horse Is”-Hella

I had always felt, when I was young playing in bands around my hometown, that instrumental music had its place in any genre, form, or classification. I had wanted to perform with other musicians and just compose, but it wasn’t the direction a lot of my friends were headed. At this age I had just moved to Lubbock, and this album showed me how much could be done through interplay between just two instruments.




25-Paco de Lucia-Anything/Everything

I had never been introduced to flamenco style guitar, or classical guitar until just a few years ago, and after hearing guitarists like Paco de Lucia, Sabicas, Carlos Montoya, John Williams for the first time I felt like I connected with what they were doing. That they were making the compositions and performance on guitar the focus of the music, and letting it stand alone rather than taking a backseat to other instrumentation/vocals. These individuals sealed the deal in my obsession with the guitar by opening up the instrument to me.


2 responses to “Quinquennial Essentials with Above the Empire

  1. Pingback: Above the Empire by tylerhardy - Pearltrees·

  2. Pingback: New Releases: The Dendrites « New Slang·

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