Bells Atlas think and talk about space a lot. They also sound like space, in an extraterrestrial, starry sense, but also in a mathematical sense: their music has a vastness that sounds like the distance between things, the space. The Oakland foursome covered Grimes‘ “Genesis” and are headlining Leo’s Music Club Saturday, August 22.

Listen to Grimes’ original then Bells Atlas’ reimagination. It’s tempting to say dang, these songs are way different, but I think it’s better not to.

About a minute into the original version (two minutes into the video) a bouncy synth falls out of the track and in falls an enormously minimal beat, it’s hard to forget once you’ve heard it; about a minute into the Bells Atlas version the song slams itself about, instead of locking-step like the original, the percussion here is frantic, unpredictable, bouncing between textures, time signatures and tones.

It’s the same part of the song, and it sounds completely different. While the original version moves along in step with Grimes’ layered vocal parts, Bells Atlas’ cover ebbs and flows in complete textural and temporal transformations. Which is why I think the songs are similar.

If Bells Atlas covered the song note for note, instrument for instrument, wouldn’t it, in certain ways, feel untrue? Bells Atlas songs are sprawling and this cover is no exception, even if the original is painted with a completely different sonic palette. If “Genesis” is Grimes’ genesis, her origin or coming into being, then “Genesis” is an after-the-fact genesis for Bells Atlas. Covering the song isn’t only a shout out to Grimes and a good-ass song, it’s a shout out into the space between the two songs and maybe the lack thereof.

NOTE: The show is moving to Starline Social Club: 645 W Grand Ave. All preordered tickets will be honored. All other details remain the same.

Bells Atlas, Makeunder, Fell Runner
Leo’s Music Club
August 22, 2015
8 pm, $12 (18+)