To get Brooklyn band POINT REYES off the ground, Asa Horvitz suggested that percussionist Kyle Farrell and cellist Daniel Bindschedler join him in Warsaw, Poland (where he was working supported by a Fulbright grant) to spend four months writing, rehearsing, and giving concerts in a completely foreign environment. Farrell and Bindschedler jumped at the opportunity and in May 2011 the trio moved into a sunny attic loft across from the Vistula river. Throughout the summer of 2011, POINT REYES immersed themselves in Poland: they performed in towns where no Americans had performed before, rehearsed ten hours a day in the basement of the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music, studied Polish, swam in flooded meadows, became obsessed with Communist architecture, played festivals in Krakow and Berlin, collaborated with Polish musicians and theater artists, and wrote and recorded their debut full length album. The project was funded in part by the Fulbright grant awarded to Horvitz. (His compositions for theater director Michal Zadara were described by Jacek Cieslak in Rzeczpospolita, a major Polish daily newspaper, as “living minimalist music, impressive pieces of a larger work”, and he has been traveling to Poland to collaborate with Polish musicians and theater artists since 2007.) POINT REYES’ debut album is the culmination of their time in Poland. It will be released on CAKES AND TAPES (Portugal) in January 2012.
POINT REYES makes American music, unusual contemporary songs that combine a stunning list of influences; from Motown to mid-60s Miles Davis, from Charles Ives to Captain Beefheart to Joanna Newsom, from the New York downtown scene to Walt Whitman. The result is music that is very much their own: as BreakThruRadio observes, “Point Reyes has no propensity to emulate other artists.”
POINT REYES was founded by Horvitz in Brooklyn in late 2010, and released their first EP as a trio, Wetnurse/POINT REYES, in March 2011. BreakThru Radio called the recording, “A unique dichotomy between acoustic and electronic elements” and wrote that “what makes their music unusual is its obscure alchemy…. anything but lazy… Horvitz has the insight of a visionary.” Bolachas Gratis called POINT REYES “a great band from Brooklyn who deserve attention.” Amber Coffman of Dirty Projectors commented “omg” on the download link on Facebook, and the band still isn’t exactly sure what she meant.
When Bindschedler, Farrell, and Horvitz joined forces to become POINT REYES they brought together an eclectic range of talents: individually they had performed at venues like Tanglewood and the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art, with free-jazz master Anthony Braxton, and in indie bands alongside artists ranging from Nat Baldwin to Kurt Vile to Megafaun. Classically-educated Farrell had recently been reviewed as “sounding like a ’70s funk player who ditched their other band members, did acid instead of coke, and got ear infections from swimming in the funk.” Bindschedler was described as “the best baroque cellist in Brooklyn who will do a session at 2 a.m.” They had also composed award-winning music for dance, theater, and classical ensembles, led marching bands and experimental theater companies, sung medieval chant, and conducted ethnomusicological research in five countries.
(to be continued)