Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Park Avenue Music - By Hearts+Horses
01 Norway Kitty
02 Strawberry Magnet
03 Palaces And Prisons
08 Roxy's Summer
10 Japon Luvr
Sacramento couple Wes Steed and Jeannette "Juju" Faith got a shiny new piano - really shiny. So up went the mics and out came the music. Flowing pieces of raw improvisation from Juju were recorded and then dressed, bit by bit, by Wes in layers of modular synth distortion; some for the fun of making soundtracks for short films by New Zealand artist and web designer Fuyuko Akiyoshi; some for the fun of mixing 10 minutes of piano music down to 3; or making 3 minute songs out of 4 measures of sometimes bluesy, sometimes ethereal use of the 88s. When one mic picked up off-the-cuff vocals for several tracks, another picked up the team's beloved cat Harrison's collar bell ringing in the background for what seems the sweetest topping to the already honeyed instrumental "norway kitty", the opening track on what has become park avenue music's loveliest accomplishment yet.
Befriending cellist Gretchen Lehtonen in time to add her touch to that first track (even if recorded backwards) was a lucky move. The trio has played a handful of boutique performances, each one unique and special as they improvised in the dark while streams of Akiyoshi's imagery served as backdrop. They have also brought a crowded house of listeners to silence even when equipment failed, piano and cello went on to duet without the noise of synthesizers, drum machines, and Unix-based applications.
"by hearts+horses" may seem an odd title, but given that the band has morphed over the years and is indeed changing their name to hearts+horses, this last effort as park avenue music seemed only fit to be thusly titled.