Goliath was Bigfoot

4:00pm on Saturday, July 29th 2023

Goliath Was Bigfoot is a contemporary music initiative started by Andrew Stoltz and Brent Fariss in 2022. The purpose of the group is to engage in conceptual explorations of folk tales, urban legends, ghost stories, conspiracy theories, myths, and the possible origin of the Sasquatch in the Book of Samuel. They present these ideas drawing from diverse and eclectic musical traditions such as sound-based abstraction, theater, folk songs, hymns, minimalism, metal and Ambient Americana. In late 2023, Goliath Was Bigfoot will be presenting a full-scale work in both the performative and recorded formats. For the Murder Ballad series, they are joined by Jess Griggs and Jordan Walsh.

NMASS Program description

Murder Ballads, Volume III
Side 1 – “The Possom’s Lament” – Andrew Stoltz
Side 2 – “Merrilee” – Brent Fariss

Murder ballads are a subgenre of the traditional ballad form, whose primary narrative describes the events of a crime or death. This usually includes the lead-up and/or aftermath. “Murder Ballads, Vol. III” examines the tradition of murder ballads in relation to animals and how humans tend to treat animals in a very cruel way. The piece also explores grieving through old-world ritualistic funerary customs and practices that contrast our modern, often sanitized process of handling sorrow, and the way we often dismiss that these furry friends are members of our family. As an aural expression, this piece seeks a surreal, meditative and ritualistic atmosphere that confronts the finality of death and the peace that comes with the reconciliation of this universal, shared experience.

Player Biographies

Brent Fariss is a composer / performer living in Austin, Texas. He has collaborated in several modern music settings including the Gates Ensemble, Waco Girls, Goliath Was Bigfoot, and the Austin New Music Coop. Fariss holds a Master’s degree in Composition from Texas State University, where he also studied the contrabass. He has become increasingly interested in the idea of conceptualism; using minimalist techniques to unite texture, form, resonance, and abstracted programmatic ideas to create a musical environment. 

Andrew DiRemiggio Stoltz is an Austin, Texas-based composer, songwriter, performer and recording engineer. Utilizing both traditional and non-traditional instruments, strict composition and improvisation, his most recent work celebrates the subtle, natural, introspective and quiet moments. Born and raised in the Cleveland, Ohio metropolitan area, he holds a Masters of Music in Composition from Cleveland State University and was a 2005 recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Award, and a 2012 and 2020 recipient of a New Music USA grant. His work has been performed and represented at a number of festivals and galleries throughout the U.S., Mexico and Europe.

Jess Griggs is a radio host, producer, writer, and musician based in Austin, Texas. Jess has worked in a variety of music and media institutions in Austin and on the east coast. Currently, they work at KMFA 89.5 as the traffic manager and host of ‘Night Music.’ When they’re not on the airwaves, they write angsty poetry or they make questionable sounds via the trombone.They also have a Mini Australian Shepherd named Libby who is, by all accounts, perfect.

Jordan Walsh is a percussionist, audio engineer, and educator based in Austin, Texas. A proponent of electronics and theater in music, he strives to perform the most absurd music with the most genuine fervor. Jordan frequently commissions and performs new works in both chamber and solo settings, including recent collaborations with composers including Elainie Lillios, Akshaya Avril Tucker, Kitty Xiao, and José Martinez.

Frequently engaged as a solo performer, Jordan has appeared as a guest at the SEAMUS conference, the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, and Southwestern University, with upcoming engagements including residencies at Purdue University and Alabama University. Jordan proudly endorses Pearl/Adams Instruments, Sabian Cymbals, Black Swamp Percussion, and Innovative Percussion. When he is not engaged with contemporary classical music, Jordan can be found playing drums with singer-songwriter James Tabata, a smattering of nonsense instruments with Goliath Was Bigfoot, and prepared guitar with Austin’s experimental folk band Middle Sattre.