On September 23rd, New York based The Oracle Hysterical will perform a live version of their forthcoming album Hecuba in the Peristyle at the Toledo Museum of Art. Named after the Greek tragedy by Euripides, the album is a telling of the play set to song. “We describe ourselves as part book club and part band – because one of us will read a book and bring it to the rest of us, having fallen in love with it, and we will write music around it”, says band leader Brad Balliet. “That’s how most of our projects have come about.”
Core members of the band include Brad on bassoon and his brother Doug Balliett on the double bass and gamba, vocalists Majel Connery and Elliot Colea, percussionist Dylan Green, and guitarist Chris Botta – who produced the album.
Each of the six members’ combined love for literature and music is what makes this project stand out. Their sound is often described as “Chamber Pop”, which Balliet calls “A mix between classical chamber music and indie pop.”
But while their influences are deeply rooted in classical and baroque music, both Brad and his brother Doug can recall a time in graduate school where they focused on producing hip hop albums. “We were both composition students at Rice University in Texas with a love for hip hop music – particularly for Aesop Rock”, says Brad. “So we both wanted to try our hand at rapping and producing beats. We did a couple of rap albums that way and performed in Switzerland and New York as sort of an early version of what became The Oracle Hysterical.”
World Premiere in Toledo
Their Toledo show will be the first time that the group will perform the album with just the six core members. “We’re doing a trial run in New York in September, but in a lot of ways, we consider the show in Toledo to be the world premiere of the live version of this album”, says Balliett. “Our goal is to make the performance as close to the album as possible.”
The album itself will not be out until May of next year. “The album has been done for some time now. We’ve just been waiting for the right time to release it – a time when all six of us had time to start performing live”, explains Balliett. The Peristyle, modeled after the Greek agora, is the perfect place to launch a musical performance inspired by Euripides.