Smart bets web extra: Two People Playing Music

For People, the new EP by Two People Playing Music (2PPM), is a work of dichotomies and sonic experiments. While the album notes claim that “these songs represent the experience from our journey throughout the last year,” there’s a sense that this is not a soundtrack to a road trip so much as a map of ideas and intellectual explorations.

The band is, indeed, two people: Chase Hudson (keys) and Sean Sullivan (drums) who recently relocated to Asheville. According to their ReverbNation page, using “an innovative configuration of vintage keyboards and drums they mix elements of avant-garde jazz with popular styles, and attempt to bridge the gap between the wonder of experimental music, and the accessibility of popular music.”

But For People never really quite reads as jazz (or pop or even prog, for that matter). Its tones and cadences, instead, feel culled from nature, from wooded landscapes dripping with water and lush with ferns and primeval boulders. Dense fog, tree canopy, primordial birdsong, humus, brackish pools. All of it, collected like the samples of Joseph Banks or William Bartram, and then run through Jekylline tubes and beakers until the end result emerges, fusing burbling streams with mechanized clank, twitters with glitch, wind with static and lulling hum with grinding gears.

Which is not to say that For People is unpleasant. In fact, it’s far more lush than industrial and more melodic than jarring. But the metallic edges and piston-fire percussion suggest that the people for whom this is intended are the people of the 21st century with an ear trained toward the churn and clang of progress as much as the hush and sway of the natural world.

Final track, “Beehive” is especially compelling in how rising and falling scales meet with enough distortion to create a buzz that’s both electric and apiarian. The song balances a sense of busyness with a swirling, upward pulse that feels more elegant that chaotic.

2PPM are working on breaking into the local music scene — look for their shows. They next play BoBo Gallery on Monday, March 5 with Levek and Hundred Waters. Download For People for free here.

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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