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big dog little dog is the mind-melding duo project of violinist/composer Jessie Montgomery and bassist/songwriter Eleonore Oppenheim. Their music has been described many ways, but perhaps the most apt so far has been "post-minimalist groove americana." The pair use an improvisational composition technique that draws on many genres and their experience as native New Yorkers to create lush, cinematic soundscapes that are by turns sweeping and achingly intimate. This album is both a deep dive into the meditative space of the interior and an exploration of our place as humans in the natural world.
NOTES ON THE ALBUM:
With our debut album, we invite the listener into a sound world that is both intimate and expansive, taking you with us to the physical and metaphysical space where the record was made; the house that my grandfather built on a plot of communal land in the woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania, where I spent large chunks of my childhood with my grandmother.
This house and the land on which it sits have changed very little since they were purchased by my great grandfather and some of his friends from Queens in the 1930s as a place to get closer to nature and make art. This resonates with me as an artist, and when my grandmother needed to move and the house was to be rented out, I immediately thought of making the big dog little dog record there in between.The room sound is fantastic because of the materials he chose (mostly different kinds of wood carefully selected for different attributes) and the unique design he drafted, which marries an unmistakably midcentury modern geometric approach with the intuition of a woodsman who let natural materials dictate the form that emerged from them.
Using that as a jumping off point for our approach to recording, we wanted to let the house be a prominent presence, so we (which really refers to our brilliant producer/engineer, Jascha Narveson) took care to record and mix it so that the listener can feel the room as though they are at a live performance. We also used field recordings taken from the area to help guide the experience and add further depth, richness and context, and we wrote two of the tracks at a selfimposed writing retreat at the house before we went there to record.
The music on this album is of and about the place in a strong way, and even the pieces written beforehand took on some of the flavor of the house, as food does when cooked in a well seasoned cast iron pan. Both my grandfather’s beautiful, thoughtfully designed house and the intimate specificity of the music we made there address the problem of what a modern human’s “natural habitat” actually is and how we should “be” in the natural world.
released May 17, 2019
big dog little dog:
Jessie Montgomery, violin
Eleonore Oppenheim, bass
All compositions by big dog little dog (Jessie Montgomery and Eleonore
Oppenheim), Copyright 2018 (BMI)
Album engineered, mixed, and mastered by Jascha Narveson at Churchill Lane, June 2018
Produced by Jessie Montgomery, Jascha Narveson, and Eleonore Oppenheim.
all rights reserved