Collaboration with a twist

The Cedar assembles a local music mashup.

Faculty member of the Institute of Production and Recording Adam Levy plays the piano in a recording studio at IPR Wednesday afternoon. Levy has been commissioned to work with other local musicians for a concert being held at the Cedar Cultural Center on March 6.

Erin Westover

Faculty member of the Institute of Production and Recording Adam Levy plays the piano in a recording studio at IPR Wednesday afternoon. Levy has been commissioned to work with other local musicians for a concert being held at the Cedar Cultural Center on March 6.

Sally Hedberg

WHAT: Adam Levy: 416 Club Commissions

WHEN: 7:30 p.m., March 6

WHERE: Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Ave. S.

COST: $5

Collaborations are definitely the name of the game in the Minneapolis music scene right now. Look no further than Rogue Valley or Gayngs. The Cedar Cultural Center, in support of this notion, has recently taken part in manipulating it by challenging local artists to team up with someone radically different from themselves to create music for a series of live shows, the 416 Club Commissions. This Sunday the series will combine The HoneydogsâÄô frontman Adam Levy with experimental rockers Liminal Phase.

âÄúFor a guy that writes pop music, this is really kind of a big departure,âÄù Levy said. âÄúBut this lineup is so sonically exciting.âÄù

Though this project surely introduces a new musical approach for Levy, it doesnâÄôt really daunt him. A musical jack-of-all-trades, Levy has confronted an array of styles. His best-known group, The Honeydogs, falls into the domain of indie/alternative pop, but heâÄôs tackled everything from working with the opera to creating childrenâÄôs music with another side project, the Bunny Clogs. With all of that under his belt, a little noise rock isnâÄôt so scary.

âÄúI think IâÄôve always listened to music like that, so itâÄôs not like it was too difficult,âÄù Levy said. âÄúIâÄôve always had kind of experimental, art-rock moments. It was difficult to figure out a setting.âÄù

It must be acknowledged how sonically different Levy of The Honeydogs and Liminal Phase truly are to understand the quasi-wackiness of this challenge. On one side you have Levy, an alt-country rocker with a propensity for pop songs. On the other side you have Liminal Phase, an electronic group that sounds like the inside of a television and possesses no preconceived formula of song structure.

It would seem a recipe for certain failure, but somehow the resulting music isnâÄôt terrible. ItâÄôs a far cry from a pop song, but the spontaneity of Liminal Phase integrated with the inherent musical knowledge of Levy produces something truly unique in the realm of local collaboration.

To prepare for the show, they joined together in several recording sessions, the products of which are characterized by cinematic distorted backdrops paired with mild interjections of jazzy guitar and otherworldly sounds such as the oud, a twangy Arabic stringed instrument. The resulting music is like a soundtrack. It doesnâÄôt really take the listener to a specific place, yet it manages to stay engaging because thereâÄôs so much room for interpretation.

âÄúIf I had to describe what it is, I would call it an experimental chamber electronica group,âÄù Levy said. âÄúA lot of times we get on stage, and nobody knows whatâÄôs going to happen. ThereâÄôs no song structure in some cases; somebody just starts playing something, and we create the pieces on the spot.âÄù

Because their MO is one of improvisation, thereâÄôs no saying exactly what the performance at the Cedar will carry to listeners. However, one thing is certain: It will be an Adam Levy youâÄôve never seen before.

âÄúItâÄôs going to bore some people, or itâÄôs going to seem pretentious,âÄù Levy said. âÄúWhatever. ItâÄôs good to get together with people youâÄôve never worked with before.âÄù