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Symphonic rock band and Knitting Factory artist Larval went through several personnel changes during its first few years, but nevertheless became more defined and cohesive with each incarnation, guided by lead guitarist and composer Bill Brovold. The first formation of Detroit area band Larval came together in late '96 and included Brovold, Erik Gustafson (of Blue Dog) and Beth Willusz on guitars, bassist Dean Western, drummer Will Osler, violinist Mary Alice and occasional saxophone from Johnny Evans. The debut recording came out in 1997 on John Zorn's Japanese label, Avant. Larval experienced major line-up changes when everyone but Brovold left the band; Gustafson returned to Blue Dog, and many of the other members formed a space rock band called Tars Tarkas. Brovold used this opportunity to renew Larval's sound, moving slightly away from its noise rock leanings toward a thickly layered classical/rock hybrid. He found other talented area musicians, some of whom were based out of Ann Arbor and affiliated with the music school there. This second line-up solidified by the release of Larval's second album, 2, in early '98 (this time on NY's Knitting Factory label) consisting of violinists Mike Smith and Jocelyn Vari, cellist Megan Morrill, guitarists Brovold and Toby Summerfield, reedists Colin Stetson and Stuart Bogie, bassist Troy Gregory (of Prong) and drummer Marco Smith. Several musicians moved out of state, including the two reeds players, who moved to San Francisco with their jazz rock quartet, Transmission. This resulted in another incarnation of Brovold's band. Larval now included bassist Josh Tillinghast (who was the drummer in another project with Summerfield, Poignant Plecostomus), cellist Genevieve Padgett and saxophonist Matt Bauder (also of an out jazz trio, explosion:cerebral). Tillinghast and Bauder both moved away, replaced by bassist Shumit DasGupta (also of the now-defunct Poignant Plecostomus) and saxophonist Jason Shear (affiliated with Entropy Records), and violinist Mike Smith was replaced by Kurt Zimmerman. These last two versions of Larval can be heard on the Bill Brovold release on Tzadik, Childish Delusions (May, 2000) and the Larval follow-up release on Knitting Factory, also slated for 2000. Larval has performed numerous times at the downtown Knitting Factory venue and at music festivals including Ann Arbor's Edgefest (1997 and 1998, the latter with guest reedsman Ned Rothenberg) and the Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival (1999, on a bill with the Boredoms and a quartet of John Zorn, Fred Frith, Bill Laswell and Dave Lombardo). A tour that includes Norway and Scandinavia is slated for Fall 2000.
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