The seven-state KOZM Tour makes a stop at The Grand Opera House in Oshkosh on Saturday, October 17th.
Tom Farrell (guitar) and Javier Orman (violin) of KOZM – the name is drawn from the word “macrocosm” and means “infinite possibilities” – have been called “avant-sonic acrobats” by LA Weekly and “exceptional genius” by I Am Entertainment Magazine.
With masterful skill and unstoppable intensity, KOZM creates a rich musical landscape featuring a fusion of styles including Latin, jazz, classical and traditional folk. Pushing their instruments beyond the usual limits, KOZM’s acoustic guitar and violin channel a host of other instruments to produce a result that must be heard to be believed.
“The guitar in KOZM is the drum set, the bass, the cello and the mandolin,” Farrell said. “I continuously discover new sounds and new ways of approaching this instrument. This is my personal take on the guitar.”
Orman has had a similar experience with the violin: “It’s my voice; it’s my way out,” he said. “The violin is so close to the human voice, but it can also sound like an electric guitar or even a trombone at any moment, which makes playing it a really freeing experience.”
The music of KOZM is unique and original, but its powerful energy and nostalgic tones reflect the personalities and tastes of its two members. Orman was born in Israel but grew up in the artsy port city of Montevideo, Uruguay.
“Great music transports me to alternate universes,” he explained, “and lets me make sense of things. My life has been marked by ‘moments of revelation’ through music, like when I first heard Exit Music by Radiohead or Mahler’s symphonies. I’m addicted to powerful, expressive music.”
Farrell’s musical beginnings started in Chicago. “Because I didn’t have a real guitar, I made one out of a tennis racket and rubber bands and jammed along to my favorite songs,” he recalled. “At the time, I thought my tennis racket guitar sounded pretty good.”
The two met in Santa Monica, CA, where they were both teaching.
“I was walking down the hallway one day and I heard this incredible sound,” Farrell said. “I just barged in and there was Javier playing these intense harmonics with his eyes closed.”
“We immediately had a musical connection,” he continued, “and we stayed up all night making music.’
They found their voice in KOZM.
“It’s about creating, innovating, and having fun,” Orman said. “Those things are on a different level.”
“We’re community-made,” Farrell said. “People from all backgrounds tell us how much our music has moved and changed them, and they feel they are a part of our group.”
“The best thing is,” Orman added, “we feel they are, too. We couldn’t do this without our supporters.”
The duo is releasing a new live album, “Panic That Way,” and the October 17th concert will be its debut.
“The album portrays how we really are on stage,” Farrell said. “We bring a certain energy. We’re pretty intense and tend to have the force of a rock band.”
Perhaps more significantly, they will be playing a free concert at The Boys and Girls Club of Oshkosh on Friday, October 16th.
“It’s very important for us to do community outreach,” Farrell said, “and we are both educators, so it is also important for us to share our music with people who might not otherwise hear it. Kids tend to respond very strongly and we are able to inspire younger musicians. We are amazed by the kids.”