Introducing: Point Reyes

Upon first listen, perhaps you could find a correlation to Animal Collective or Dirty Projectors in the delivery or composition of Point Reyes’ music. Forget the thought as immediately as it entered your head. This band is an entity unto itself, enveloping its listeners in orchestrations comprising expansive vibraphone, thick bass, luscious cello, guitar, and eerie vocals that weave stories filled with whimsy. 

Point Reyes‘ music is a perfect representation of quality musicianship; they shift effortlessly from moments of delicate composition into something that is chaotic, free. In these freer moments, their music exposes the world, like peeling the rind from an orange, releasing beneath a freshness that will revitalize your tired soul.

In performance, they exhibit a passive intensity. Delicate moments are attacked by intense eruptions. Members Kyle Farrell (vibraphone/drumset), Dan Bindschedler (cello/bass) and Jack Randall (bass/drumset) float around the stage, switching instruments with an organic ease. Asa Horvitz delivers lyrics in a haunting voice that has remained in mind long after their set ended.

We chatted with Horvitz to give you some insight into the band’s roots, their time spent in Poland, and the importance of musical growth.

Asa, can you tell me how the band formed?

I moved to New York to find musicians to work with who might be interested in doing something like Point Reyes. I met Dan through a mutual friend and Dan introduced me to Kyle. I was looking for a percussionist and a reed player and a vibraphone just hadn’t occurred to me. I actually played with Kyle regularly before Dan joined up because Dan was busy with other work,‪and at the time I was writing what became our first EP.

The next step was convincing them to come to Poland after I got a Fulbright, which was pretty easy to do. Kyle and I would improvise, talk about painting, have an intense argument, walk around Prospect Park, and improvise some more, maybe write something out. It was musical love at first sight.

When Dan joined we had to get “serious” and start writing “songs.” That’s how the EP happened – I had a lot of it written for cello and voice and guitar and we flushed out the arrangements with percussion as a trio. That’s the “beginning.” We were also going to see a lot of music like Morton Feldman played by ICE, whatever Issue Project Room was programming, and indie stuff like Extra Life and Nat Baldwin.

You guys have a very dynamic sound. How did your time in Poland influence your sound?

I would say that in Poland the scope of our perspective widened incredibly. We were just looking around us like a painter or a poet might, looking around at Poland and also looking at America from a distance and we found we had many things to say that could only be expressed with a wide variety of musical styles and approaches. We all grew up with the internet, we all grew up listening to everything from Harry Partch to Radiohead to avant garde jazz to medieval music and I studied composition, played in weird rock bands, and also played with Anthony Braxton. This wide palette comes very naturally to us, we never talked about it, it just happened.

I’m always disappointed in bands who find a sound early on and stick with it, I don’t understand how that happens, I hope we keep evolving in an unpredictable and organic way, which is what seems to be happening so far. I’d also like to say that this is something that I feel is particularly American about our work. Poland is not a place where genre-crossing happens like it does in America, it’s much more a place of specificity and particularity – musicians who only play one style and do that style very, very well.

For tour, you reached out and added another member, embracing a bigger sound. Do you anticipate growth requiring more members or a rotation of members?

Yes, I don’t think this is Point Reyes’ final lineup.‬ We’re working with a Polish/Danish singer in April named Nini Julia Bang, she sings with Teatr ZAR, who have performed at Lincoln Center and the Barbican and UCLA Live and are an interesting experimental music/theater group that works mostly with traditional music. ‪We’re happy with the quartet right now. It’s not about being unhappy with it—it’s about being excited to work with other folks and expand our sound.

Why did you decide to make tapes?

Because Diogo Silva who runs Bolachas, a small blog with a lot of clout in Europe, posted our EP on it and his label, Cakes and Tapes, offered to put out our record on tape in Europe. He’s really hooked into the cassette subculture, it’s been an interesting process. The next step is getting it out on vinyl in the states.

If you have the opportunity to catch this band in your city, take it. Theirs is a music that stirs the soul, and honestly, we could all use a little life breathed back into us every once and again.

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