FIRST LOOK: Liquid Music's Virtual Residency with Poliça & s t a r g a z e / by Liquid Music

By Lauren McNee

What will the future hold for our year long virtual residency with Poliça and s ta r g a z e? If we were to ask a magic eight ball that question, the answer would most likely be "cannot predict now". With a project of this scope, there are a lot of unknowns. What we do know is that the collaboration between Poliça and s t a r g a z e will be bold, cutting-edge, really cool, and will produce sounds that you won’t be able to get out of your head.

I feel privileged to have played matchmaker to these two incredible groups, who are creatively and spiritually so compatible. As collaborators, Poliça and s t a r g a z e will find a common musical language that will allow them both to share equally in the process of creating new work together. My job was of course the easy part. The terrific challenge for the musicians will be collaborating primarily virtually, with a few hoped-for visits between now and next fall. As always, the inherent risk is lighting a fire under us all.  
                                                                     -Kate Nordstrum, Liquid Music Curator
LM curator Kate Nordstrum with s t a r g a z e's André de Ridder (conductor/founder) and Merle Scheske (managing director) in Berlin

LM curator Kate Nordstrum with s t a r g a z e's André de Ridder (conductor/founder) and Merle Scheske (managing director) in Berlin

The Liquid Music blog is a virtual platform for audiences to follow the collaboration all the way from the early stages of development to the live performance in the fall of 2016. Liquid Music offers audience members a VIP pass to enter into the creative process behind staging an artistic project. Join us for the ride!

Snapshot of Poliça 

Described as “the best band I’ve ever heard” by Bon Iver’s founder Justin Vernon in Rolling Stone Magazine
Promoted in Jay-Z’s  Life + Times

Homebase: Minneapolis, MN

The Make-up:

  • Chris Bierden (bass)
  • Drew Christopherson (drums)
  • Ben Ivascu (drums)
  • Channy Leaneagh (vocals)
  • Ryan Olson (production)

The name Poliça was inspired by the polish word “polisa”, which means “policy”. It refers to the band’s mutual values and rapport when they play together.  

Poliça came together as a band just as quickly as they experienced instantaneous success in the Minneapolis music scene. The band was formed in 2011 as an experiment between Leaneagh and Olson. Formerly a singer with the indie collective Gayngs (also founded by Olson), Leaneagh recorded tracks with Olson’s synth-driven beats with enhancement by Bierden, Christopherson, and Ivascu. Just within the space of two weeks, Poliça’s debut album, Give You the Ghost, was born. Following their live debut in 2011 at Nick and Eddie’s in Minneapolis, Poliça rocketed in popularity.  

Poliça’s sound is a synthesis of R&B, synth pop, hip hop, and alternative rock. Leaneagh’s soulful voice is distorted through Autotune, which manipulates the pitch and in live performances, a Helicon pedal that adds layers of reverb and delay. The use of vocal processors creates an ethereal effect and provides the voice with the flexibility to blend with the texture of each song.

Snapshot of s t a r g a z e

"Orchestral support can often feel self-indulgent and egotistical with the orchestra often only there to serve the band. But here it feels entirely equal; two like-minded musical entities fluidly playing and communicating with each other."
                                  – Huffington Post on the work and philosophy of s t a r g a z e

Home Base: Berlin, Germany

The Make-up:

  • Founded by conductor André de Ridder in 2013. Click here to read a cool article on de Ridder in the Herald Scotland (2015)

  • Collective of artistically compatible musicians who support the creation and performance of current music

s t a r g a z e is an unfixed ensemble, a musical chameleon that finds the right musicians for the right project. The shape of the ensemble is malleable and takes on a new character for each collaboration. The flexible composition of the ensemble allows s t a r g a z e to pursue artistic projects that flow organically.

The pursuit of innovative projects that initiate unprecedented and unique collaborations is at the core of s t a r g a z e’s mission. s t a r g a z e has presented projects all over the world with a multitude of international artists. While perusing s t a r g a z e’s long list of past programs, Liquid Music fans will recognize quite a few artists from the 2014.15 season including Bryce Dessner, Julia Holter, Richard Reed Parry and Nils Frahm.  

s t a r g a z e represents a fusion of classical and contemporary. As a conductor, de Ridder’s career exists between the past and present. He is known as an “astute interpreter of core classical repertoire” and “the go-to orchestral conductor for indie bands, experimental pop artists and composers whose music straddles the spheres of classical and, well, whatever” (Herald Scotland). The ensemble is made up of musicians who are trained in classical and contemporary music and are excited to work with artists whose music exists in the popular and genreless sphere. s t a r g a z e seeks to bridge the dichotomy between the classical and contemporary sound worlds.


"Chain My Name" from Poliça’s sophomore album Shulamith (2013). Also feat. in Liquid Music’s 2015.16 trailer

“Lay Your Cards Out” From Poliça’s’s debut album Give You The Ghost (2011)

Interpretation of “In C” by Terry Riley (2014) in collaboration with Nils Frahm (Liquid Music artist 2014.15 season) at Berlin’s Volksbühne

“Relief” by The Dodos featuring s t a r g a z e orchestra at the Kilkenny Arts Festival in Ireland (2014)



s t a r g a z e