Geoffrey Victor Pope’s new solo project GMNI—like the astrological sign—is an embodiment of the yin and yang as expressed by two elements: a keyboard and a drum kit. One half is inherently future-electric, the other is ancestral-tribal. Pope plays these instruments simultaneously and without a sequencer, computer or looper. That’s right, he’s like a modern-day, non-slapstick, rock-and-roll version of Bert from the opening scene of Mary Poppins—but more original, heroic and loud.
GMNI's sounds are rock and roll with vintage video game tones and emotionally exploratory beats. Epic builds, clean changes and layered emotions take you into the dualistic mind of this friendly giant. (Pope stands 6-foot-5 tall.) It’s like listening to Explosions in the Sky at Pirate Island, or God is an Astronaut while at dodgeball on Monday Funday, or Mogwai while riding your bike into a warm summer night.
We all know the story: Most musicians start in basements. They rehearse their asses off in basements. They play their first show in a basement. Maybe that show is in front of 40 heart-beating Portlanders, or maybe it’s just for one friend. Eventually, like Pope, they work their way out of the basement and get a shot at playing their first solo gig.
A musician’s first solo show can have awkward stage banter, long pauses in between songs, and uninspired covers of “The Times They Are A-Changin'.” But, this one will be different. Even though this is Pope’s first solo act, he's played in venues with many bands, including the Portland garage rap group Star Rats. He also exudes a strong stage presence and plays dope rock songs that require splitting his mind in two—perfect to kick off your June soundtrack.
Don't miss this show on Sunday, June 1 at the Habesha Lounge. Trust me: We may be in the year of the horse, but this summer GMNI’s sign is rising.