House Of Waters
“In today's world, there are no musical boundaries,” says Max ZT of ‘House of Waters,’ a trio that makes those words come alive as they incorporate elements of West-African, jazz, psychedelic, indie rock, classical and world music into their astonishingly unique sound.
Five years after their groundbreaking Revolution, House of Waters now returns with its eponymous follow-up. The album features Max on hammered dulcimer, Moto Fukushima on six-string bass and percussionist Luke Notary - Though now the band tours with Argentinian-born Ignacio Rivas-Bixio! The album also features virtuosic cellist Dave Eggar, flautist Sam Sadigursky and the singer Priya Darshini.
“Our music is a constant melting pot, which is so relevant to now,” says Max. “It’s like that last D’Angelo record or Kendrick’s Butterfly...you know, that wasn’t just rap, or hip-hop, or jazz, or soul, but it had all of that. It’s an amorphous thing. It’s how the future is going to be.” Moto agrees: “We always just say what we do is ‘good music.’ If I need to say something to someone who's never heard of us, I just say, ‘Please come to our show!"
House of Waters’ music is both complex and easy to enjoy, a musical exploration that invites listeners to open themselves to new sounds. One of those sounds is that of Max’s instrument, the hammered dulcimer, a percussion/stringed instrument that takes years of study and spans dozens of cultures around the globe. Most often associated with traditional American and Irish folk music, Max has taken the instrument in entirely new directions. “I’ve been playing it since I was 7,” says Max. “And my folks reminded me I first fell in love with it when I was 2: I saw it performed at an exhibit opening, walked up to it, sat underneath and just listened to it for hours.”
Moto had a similar experience with the 6-stringed bass and it has defined his life ever since. His study of Western Classical music, Japanese traditional music and the African inspired musical sensibilities of South America, coupled with his undeniable virtuosity, adds a breath-taking element to the group’s total sound. Luke studied with the legendary Hamza El Din, while Max studied with traditional musicians in Senegal and continues to learn from Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, India’s master of the santoor (an ancestor of the hammered dulcimer.) “That experience,” says Max, “opened me up to a whole separate world of traditions and philosophical thought.” Joining forces has given each artist an opportunity to stretch their chosen instruments, to take risks to expand both the music and themselves. In the process, audiences cannot help but be thrilled by the enormity of their sound.
The album House of Waters marks the band’s first record for GroundUP, the artist-friendly label started by Snarky Puppy’s Michael League. “There was a lot of mutual respect and interest there,” says Max. “I think we bring something unique to their roster.” He laughs. “Not a lot of dulcimer trios out there.”
Their GroundUP debut is a broad, cinematic piece, ranging from the slow burn of “La Semana,” to the grand “Patience” and—a first for the band—a beautiful vocal assist by Priya Darshini on album standout "Hamza”
Moto picks "Francesco" as his favorite. “That song was my first time writing parts for classical music styles and instruments in the band,” he says. “And the song goes full arena rock at the end: I'm happy how we could connect delicate/complicated and hard/simple aspects with both organic and modern sound. Also, Max's solo in the middle is killer.”
The album’s first available track, “17,” encapsulates the record’s complex nature. “It’s a time signature: 17/8,” says Max. “It’s definitely odd, but we played at this traditional folk festival and people lost their minds! It’s a pretty rockin’ loud, aggressive song in an odd meter that hasn’t really been heard in the West. It’s fun, fast energy, and it plays into our virtuosity.”
But to truly experience House of Waters, see them live. “It’s the benefit of this band’s versatility—we fit in so many different fields,” says Max. To that end, you might experience the band at any number of huge jazz or folk fests. Possibly at an Indian classical show. And maybe opening for the likes of Pt. Ravi Shankar, Snarky Puppy, Jimmy Cliff or the performing arts ensemble KODO.
With musical and cultural influences that stretch from India and Senegal through Ireland and the heart of New York City, you have, as one critic noted, “The most original band on the planet.”
“...Grasping for definitions is useless with this band. Their genre can only be described by other words like fresh, calm, serene, and bliss. Hearing something this new to me feels like I'm hearing music for the first time all over again.”
— Paste Music and Daytrotter
“One of the most unique groups you will ever come across . . . I can only describe their sound as being a sound which one has longed to hear without truly realising it.”
— The Bubble
“London's new favourite band.”
— Ticketmaster UK
“A rare and beautiful gem.”
— All About Jazz
“House of Waters is a band that is bending the very fabric of the musical universe as we know it.”
— Onstage Review
“One of New York’s most interesting and unique bands.”
— New York Music Daily
“House of Waters’ music is both complex and easy to enjoy, a musical exploration that invites listeners to open themselves to new sounds.”
— Bass Musician Magazine
“A sight to behold.”
— Time Out NY
“Unlike anything you’ve heard before.”
— Salt Peanuts
“The listener bathes in an ocean of purity...The trio plays the sensation and the journey, often between Africa and Asia, with brilliance. A great moment of music, no doubt.”
“An astonishing display of virtuosity and musical beauty.”
— It Djents
Bud Collins Trio
No one is entirely sure when the Bud Collins Trio was formed, some believe it was the 70s, other say 80s. The band don’t seem to agree themselves. They have always played strange and beautiful pop music. They have never sounded much like any other band, but yet mysteriously like many.
It’s primarily a kind of pop, but with a mixture of textures from various eras of pop and rock, and many other influences apparent, such as jazz, progressive rock, electronic music, lounge, and fusion. Comparisons range from XTC, Steely Dan, Pink Floyd, to Robyn Hitchcock, echoes of Brian Wilson, Camper Van Beethoven, the Beatles, Elvis Costello, Elliott Smith, and Todd Rundgren. But the band warn that this is merely speculation and could just be hearsay. They then begin to urgently insist that it actually is just hearsay. People hear things, they say things, what can be done?
They started playing on and off campus around the University of Connecticut in the early days, then elsewhere in their home state, the land of forlorn woods, insurance sales, and the hideous ennui of privilege, at various clubs in the Hartford and New Haven areas. Soon they expanded their territory to most of New England, including Portland ME, various NH and VT college towns, Providence and some of the Rhode Island beach clubs, and Boston, as well as a good number of steady and weekly shows in NYC. They played the legendary CBGB in New York several times, and were the only freakish progressive whatever band on a Christmas compilation of NY punk bands from the CBGB era of the late 80’s.
The BC3 was a steadfast part of the US indie scene through the late eighties and mid-nineties. During that time their video “Fisticuffs” aired a number of times on MTV Basement Tapes, and they played with well-known acts\musicians such as Bob Mould, Blues Traveler, Maceo Parker, and The Monks of Doom (half of Camper Van Beethoven). They lived in vans. They played gigs and split the money on gas station burritos.
In 1994 Bud Collins played for the Real Bud Collins (Wimbledon doubles champ \ Boston Globe columnist\NBC Tennis commentator) when he was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame, and Sports Illustrated ran a human interest story on the event with a full two page spread. Bud Collins the man was then afterwards seen at BC3 gigs in Boston on more than one occasion, having a cocktail and listening to the quizzical magic of his namesake band.
At a certain point in the mid-nineties the band split up for a time, but sometime around 2008 the band reassembled – and the incongruous pieces of the musical puzzle once again fell back into their unlikely shape.
Even more surprising, they started again entirely from scratch, with all new music, with most of the original members from all of the incarnations. It was like the resurrection of the Phoenix bird, if the Phoenix bird were a strange meta-pop band from Connecticut.
In the following years up to the present the band have prolifically written. They’ve cataloged more than 100 new tunes, many of which are figuring into different current projects, including an upcoming full length release, State Vector Collapse, scheduled for some time in 2018. They released the Quasarmoto EP in the winter of 2016. This critically well received EP featured more lush and strange pop, psychedelic, progressive, dreamy, chill and thought provoking music, and charted well on US college radio (109 nationally).
The Bud Collins Trio make strange and beautiful pop music. They do not fall squarely into a genre, but yet might fit uncomfortably in many. They mix eras and influences that include jazz, progressive rock, electronic music, lounge, and fusion. Comparisons range from XTC, Steely Dan, Pink Floyd, to Robyn Hitchcock, echoes of Brian Wilson, Camper Van Beethoven, the Beatles, Elvis Costello, Elliott Smith, and Todd Rundgren.