by Dave Lynch
Israeli mixing and mastering wiz Udi Koomran had a suggestion for Swiss folky avant-prog multi-instrumentalist and L’Ensemble Rayé alumnus Cédric Vuille in 2008: go see Coloradan experimental rockers Thinking Plague when they play in Geneva — to meet TP bassist Dave Willey and singer Elaine di Falco. Koomran realized that Vuille, Willey, and di Falco were birds of a feather, adventurous musical spirits with an anything-goes attitude but also artists who, in their own projects (notably Willey in Hamster Theatre), made music for an audience — melodic, tuneful, rhythmic, and lighthearted, but given substance through flirtations with darker moods and touches of atonalism, left-field effects, and oddball instrumentation. Plus, and this is an important plus, the technical acumen and pure chops necessary to realize their musical visions. Koomran stood ready to help, should they choose to work together. Vuille was intrigued, met up with Willey and di Falco at the TP gig, and a new transatlantic trio, 3 Mice, began to take root. Back in Colorado, Willey and di Falco started playing together as a duo and also, through the magic of the Internets , sharing music files with Vuille across the pond. The three started working on a CD, layering in pretty much any instrument they could get their hands on (keeping to the Vuille/Hamster aesthetic, of course): cuatro, guitar, accordion, bass, piano, ukulele, nose flute, surdo, vibraphone, kalimba, zither, theremin, qarkabeb, banjolele, spoons, rhythm box, flute, Jew’s harp, mailing tubes, and more percussive implements than you could shake a stick at (including shakers). L’Ensemble Rayé drummer Daniel Spahni contributed, as did Hamster Theatre percussionist Raoul Rossiter. Koomran mixed and mastered the results, and even got in on the act with a bit of shaking and handclapping of his own. Finally, in late 2011/early 2012, the 3 Mice CD Send Me a Postcard arrived — and to fans of these artists, it proved to be worth the wait.
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