The Triumph of POLIÇA and s t a r g a z e : On its Way to Thalia Hall

Photo Credit: Graham Tolbert

From left: Romain Bly, Alistair Sung, Marlies van Gangelen, Maaike van der Linde, André de Ridder, Thora Sveinsdóttir, Chris Bierden, Ben Ivascu, Drew Christopherson, Channy Leaneagh.

Berlin’s orchestral collective  s t a r g a z e and Minneapolis’ electro-synth-pop POLIÇA march into Thalia Hall this Thursday, February 22nd for a night of exploration into their collaboration project, Music for the Long Emergency, a significantly more substantial electronica than anyone is used to in the best possible way. Think Mozart in the Jungle in overdrive…

Per their website: “s t a r g a z e  is a network of multi-talented and classically-trained European musicians founded by the highly regarded Berlin-based conductor André de Ridder and his entrepreneurial friend Emanuel Florakis.
In addition to operating as an orchestral collective since 2013, stargaze is also a group of curators initiating and commissioning collaborations and projects in the field of contemporary pop, electronic and classical music, as well as programming concerts with compositions introducing different facets of today’s music to new audiences.”

It is this musical philosophy that opens up Poliça’s already refreshing sound, getting it out on the open road for a test drive, resulting in an expansive chef-d’œuvre over the course of 7 songs and 38 minutes. Almost a third of that time is spent on the 10+ minute opus, How is this Happening, a byproduct of the election of 45 (literally written on election day), lyrically conveying feelings of shock and full on resistance coupled with haunting and numbing realization that it had actually happened. Blended seamlessly into the title track perfectly saved for last, the energy builds and crescendos with instruments usually unseen in electronica. Beyond the masterful musicianship and insightful lyrics lies a musical collaboration and underlying sense of community that puts Music for the Long Emergency in the “something truly special” category.

As the album title suggests, this is music to assist through more than simply the immediate future. And if we know one thing, it’s that music has the power to provide strength in times of trouble. “I think that the two bands,” Leaneagh writes of the collaboration in a statement, “even though we’re different instrument-wise, we both operate in similar fashions. So I think this was able to be a beautiful, anarchistic thing.”

More about s t a r g a z e :

“we are a bunch of people who are trained and have been working in classical and classical-contemporary music. each day, we are getting more excited by what’s going on in contemporary pop, electronica and other uncategorizable genres in and around these confines.

we have decided not to wait for any institutions to come round and recognize this. we use our network, our knowledge and our taste to facilitate performances, take on collaborations and start new projects; all in the realm of extended instrumental line-ups.

we have read between the lines and are looking to the stars now.”


The result on Music for the Long Emergency is nothing short of a triumph.