Friday Five: Eve Machines, Juliet Freedman, NewBassoon Institute, The Regenerate! Orchestra, Pepperoni Wilson
Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.
This week features indie-folktronica by Eve Machines, folk-pop by Juliet Freedman featuring Ben Wood, and site-specific performances and/or compositions by the NewBassoon Institute, Pepperoni Wilson, and The Regenerate! Orchestra.
Eve Machines, Eve Machines + "Lady Carrington" video
The self-titled debut album by Ypsilanti's Eve Machines doesn't officially come out until July 15 so I wasn't able to listen to the whole record, but based on the first single and video, "Lady Carrington," there will be a lot to like about it. Programmed percussion supports acoustic guitar strums throughout the song, which is colored by synths and a long e-bow guitar solo on the outro. The lead voice sounds distant and thin, like the person is singing into a toy mic, but the "hoo-hoos" are full-on as are the gospel-like harmonies. While the person behind this project doesn't have a booming voice like Hozier, I think fans of his style of music—somewhere between folk and electronic but an ear toward soul—will enjoy Eve Machines.
Juliet Freedman featuring Ben Wood, "Alone"
A couple of recent U-M alums, Juliet Freedman featuring Ben Wood have teamed up for a stripped-down, sing-songy folk-pop tune.
NewBassoon Institute ensemble performs Brad Balliett's "Arboretum"
Brad Balliett, the principal bassoon of the Princeton Symphony, wrote "Arboretum" specifically with the intention to put a big group of bassoonists in a forest, with each player performing the song of a specific tree. One thing Ann Arbor has a lot of compared to most cities is (a) forests and (b) bassoonists, so the Nichols Arboretum was the perfect gathering spot for the University of Michigan's NewBassoon Institute to gather on June 15 and perform the piece. The musicians gathered in the arb's Heathdale section because it's a low spot in the forest and acts as a natural amphitheater. The clip below is more of a newsy documentation of the piece rather than a full performance, but it's still worth a watch. NPR also did a story on the debut performance of "Arboretum" at South Carolina’s Congaree National Park.
Pepperoni Wilson, Sealed in Secret Soil
Pepperoni Wilson is the nom de plume of Cameron Wilson, a percussionist and recent U-M grad who also performs in the otherwise bassoon-only Ann Arbor band slapslap. Sealed in Secret Soil is "A Jazz New Age Nature Soundscape Orchestra adventure," which was recorded on April 20, 2022, in Hankinson Rehearsal Hall in Ann Arbor and then performed on April 24, 2022, on the Michigan Diag by 30 musicians and ecologists.
The Regenerate! Orchestra, Give Way
Ann Arbor's Regenerate! Orchestra is a community-based ensemble that performs site-specific works and includes musicians of all calibers. I believe the three works featured on Give Way were recorded at Planet Rock Climbing Gym and Neutral Zone's The B-Side, with each piece open-ended enough to accommodate players and singers at all levels. That means the music leans on simple motifs that overlap and can sound good no matter what comes in when or where. You can see some of the Planet Rock performance in the clip below. (And to complete this week's unprecedented theme of site-specific, eco-minded compositions with bassoons, there are at least two of the instruments on Give Way.)
Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.