The Gravity Quartet

Thurston Talk

Olympia is a wellspring for unconventional music. Something about living here encourages musicians to test their bounds, try new things, and be different. In this way, genre-bending indie band The Gravity Quartet is quintessentially Olympian. Plus, Olympia is where the group’s four members—Christine Gunn, Ingrid Ferris, Giles Arendt, and Robin Toye—came together, almost by accident.

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The Olympian

Christine Gunn is a cellist, a composer and the co-founder of Olympia’s The Gravity Quartet playing Saturday at ArtHouse Designs.

But the self-taught musician started her career — and got most of her musical education — busking in Seattle, beginning in her late teens.

“I was working at a Greek food place in the Pike Place Market and I saw that the street musicians were making more money than I was,” she said. “I brought my cello there. I played with a lot of the musicians, because they did better when they had a cute young girl playing with them.

“I would just improvise.”

The quartet, performing Saturday at ArtHouse Designs, is an eclectic one, combining classical instrumentation — and inspiration from the likes of Bach and Beethoven — with themes drawn from mythology and music influenced by the likes of Bowie and The Beatles.

Many artists insist their work defies classification, but The Gravity Quartet is (pardon the pun) down to earth about such matters.

“We have a genre,” Gunn said. “We call ourselves neoclassical impressionistic art rock.”

Gunn and co-founder Ingrid Ferris, who plays oboe and handles lead vocals, use the phrase “orchestral indie pop” to describe the sound of the quartet, which includes guitarist Giles Arendt and percussionist Robin Toye.

“There’s definitely a pop sensibility in our compositions, even the ones that sound classical,” Gunn said.

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