Glave Kocen Gallery, a contemporary fine art gallery in Richmond, has announced that it will end the year with The Pond, its most personal exhibit to date. The Pond’s opening reception is set for December 7th and will feature a concept album by musicians Steve Bassett and BJ Kocen combined with art inspired by their music. The original work included on album, all of which was created by Bassett and Kocen inside a camper on a horse farm, includes performances Dusty Ray Simmons on drums, Velpo Roberston on guitar, and Jeff Bunn on bass.
Kocen says that the duo thought about the many ways they could release their music into the world but the answer was ultimately staring them in the face. They invited artists to create interpretations of the music for the Glave Kocen Gallery to become part of an exhibit that coincided with the release of their music. Their request to local artists was simple yet impactful: “However the music inspires you, go for it.”
Kocen says that some artists like Noah Scalin went directly for the flavor of the P-funked tinged, “Dunk Tank,” while other artists like Steven Walker opted for the Coastal Country tune, ”Weather and The Whim.” Other artists like Eli McMullen, Mary Vanlandingham, and Linda Hollett-Bazouzi took a less direct approach and focused their work on the general vibe or notions the songs relay.
Kocen says The Pond gets it’s name from a quiet spot in North Carolina where Bassett would meet friends for many years. The daytime activities at The Pond included contemplation, group exercise, and outdoor projects while the evenings were filled with strolling through the woods using a combination of walkways, landings, and rope courses. “This routine instilled peace and harmony in Steve’s heart that he continues to draw on to this day,” says Kocen.
After reading about these experiences at The Pond in Bassett’s memoir, Kocen reached out to him and suggested they write a tune about the special place. Their initial writing session began in March of 2016, kicking off a journey neither artist could have predicted. “We were writing, recording, communing and giggling,” recalls Kocen. “We became more than pals, we became brothers.”
One song turned into another and it didn’t take long for Kocen and Bassett to realize the newly formed duo was on its way to creating a concept album. “Anything goes, so everything went,” says Bassett pointing to influences that rang from Depeche Mode to The Moody Blues.
“As we wrote, we connected with our beautiful setting and eventually felt like we were communing,” Kocen. “We invented stories for Pond Critters some of which made its way on to the recording. We brought in bits of our own history as well and folded it all in the work.” He also points out that every song has the word “heart” in it.
Bassett and Kocen will perform selected cuts from The Pond and take questions on December 15th at 11:30 AM at the Glave Kocen Gallery. At this time no further CD release concerts have been planned but The Pond will be available at the gallery and released widely in 2019. In addition, the music will be playing in the Glave Kocen Gallery as the soundtrack to the exhibit for the entire exhibit from December 7th to December 24th.