PLATTSBURGH — At least two songs on Christopher Rigsbee’s new album are directly based on an assault that he and a former girlfriend suffered from after walking home from a bar early one morning in November 2010.
A group of people enticed Rigsbee from a porch and then approached him to fight, pushing him to the ground and bashing his head into the pavement, knocking out three of his teeth.
“The pain was paralyzing,” the local musician recalled.
The traumatic experience forced him out of work for weeks and into seclusion for months, leaving him paranoid.
Playing one show himself in 2011 and attending a few at ROTA Gallery in Plattsburgh, however, Rigsbee, 27, began to realize that what had happened was affecting his life, isolating him. He wanted a change.
In February of this year, Rigsbee brought a demo to bandmate and fellow ROTA member Matthew Hall, who helped co-produce, record and promote the full-length album, “Hidden Magic Revival.”
Rigsbee collaborated with 13 other area artists to create the newest release for his band, Adrian Aardvark, which hit the stage in 2004.
He began the group independently and said he usually plays with no more than three people at a time.
But at 7 p.m. Friday, he will perform “Hidden Magic Revival” in its entirety with 10 other musicians at the ROTA Gallery, alongside an art auction and local food serviced by Riff Raff catering. Admission to the show is $3 to $7, pay what you can.
Rigsbee wrote the songs and lyrics for the album over the last year and a half, but he said all of those who recorded with him added some of their own eclectic musical elements.
“There are a few songs that have gone into these interesting jams, like jazz freakouts, that I’m pretty excited about.”
Inspiration came not only from the assault that turned Rigsbee’s life upside down, but from a few other facets — “most songs are about relationships. Relationships with people, our society, relationships with violence, life and death,” he said, and some of his “skewed observations” of other people’s reactions.
They aren’t uplifting numbers, Hall said.
“I thought the songs were pretty intense bummers, to be honest,” but it was something Rigsbee wanted to record.
“Some of it is pretty negative, but it comes full circle. It doesn’t just wallow in negativity, it just recognizes it.”
Rigsbee said that full-circle philosophy is something that he’s trying to embrace in his own lifestyle, as well, finding the balance between the terrible days that make you want to stay in bed forever and those full of love and powerful moments with friends.
“That’s what I hope people do take away from the album. Hey, I know things are terrible sometimes, but it doesn’t have to be.
“If you put the effort forward, you can change your life.”