3 Mice — Send Me a Postcard
(Les Disques Rayés 008, 2012, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-05-12Although two of these mice may be Americans, Send Me a Postcard most definitely is awash in European flavors, both in the continental folk-inspired compositions and the unmistakably European instrumentation mix. 3 Mice is Dave Willey (accordion, bass, acoustic guitar etc. from Hamster Theatre, Thinking Plague), Cédric Vuille (guitar, clarinet, ukulele, Theremin etc. from L'Ensemble Rayé, Debile Menthol, Look de Bouk and solo work), and Elaine Di Falco (piano, vibraphone, accordion, vocals, etc. from Thinking Plague, Hughscore, etc.) with drummer Daniel Spahni (L'Ensemble Rayé) covering on the tracks where he is needed. The twelve songs here tend to be light, playful, and beaming with melody and joy, bearing stylistic influences from Euro-folk and classical, though assembled in a unique way that only these three musicians could do. The intuitive listener can hear the musicians' respective backgrounds (primarily L'Ensemble Rayé and Hamster Theatre) to varying degrees in each of the pieces herein, so if those two bands are of interest to you, then 3 Mice should also be. Vocals are used sparingly throughout, often wordless, but always superb and appropriate when they appear. The only mystery is why this gets lumped in with RIO; other than the fact that Willey and Di Falco are members of Thinking Plague, this is about as far away from the 'difficult listening' aspects and uber-complexity of RIO as one can get. Send Me a Postcard is a thoroughly enjoyable listen from beginning to end.
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more