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By now, Black Prairie has clearly outgrown its roots as a casual side project, solidifying into a primary, creative focus for its members -- a band with its own internal momentum, genuine character and style. Still, it's only become harder to describe what that style is. "I gave up a long time ago," guitarist Jon Neufeld says. When asked what kind of music Black Prairie plays, Neufeld usually just says "soft rock," and walks away.
Black Prairie's fourth full-length record "Fortune" is an unexpected departure -- which is, strangely, exactly what everyone's come to expect from the band. This group of seasoned musicians from Portland, Oregon -- each steeped in traditional American acoustic music -- has become hellbent on taking one imaginative leap after another.
"We're a much more fearless writing team now," says bassist Nate Query. The band that started as an informal collective has now materialized into its own, fully living thing. Getting together to write "Fortune" last fall after a busy year of touring and tackling smaller, unconventional songwriting projects, the band felt like they had a well-bred, spirited animal hitched up and waiting for them -- a horse flaring its nostrils, ready to run -- and they wanted to keep driving it through as many different landscapes as they could.
Brooklyn quintet Snowmine don't just want to create music that you hear. They want to make music that you feel, that is in every breath, every corner and settles deep within the heart. That feeling is front and center, filling out all corners of their forthcoming album Dialects out February 4, 2014 on the band's own Mystery Buildings imprint.
The Brooklyn quintet formed out of a longtime friendship between bassist Jay Goodman, drummer Alex Beckmann, and lead singer/composer Grayson Sanders. They soon met guitarist Austin Mendenhall after his then recent move from the DC jazz scene, and finally invited their old friend, guitarist Calvin Pia, to complete the five-piece.
The band has built a completely organic following to date through successful touring and close fan contact on social media. After lengthy label talks, they recently decided to forego the label system altogether and self release their sophomore album on their own label Mystery Buildings.
From the band: "To give you some background on the recording, there are no foreign samples on this album. Every single sound and orchestral moment was written, arranged, and recorded by us. The goal of the album was to capture a surreal ambiance that married hyper modern ambient synth tones with vintage 60's sounding cinematic orchestral motifs. We recorded a choir, strings, woodwinds, and reamped synths in a church to capture truly real stereo reverbs, so in headphones you can feel physical, not artificially created space.