Syrinx Effect mixes ambient loops, pop hooks, drum samples and horns to create what sounds like a full jazz ensemble batting notes back and forth with a laptop DJ. Surprisingly enough, all that sweet, tumultuous noise is being made by just two people: Naomi Siegel on trombone, melodica and various electronics and Kate Olson, also on various electronics, plus clarinet and soprano sax.
On the band’s latest album, A Sky You Could Strike a Match On, the duo flexes its creative muscles (along with guest drummer Eric Eagle) in songs that jump between humor, melancholy and aggression. “The Bankrobber Song,” for instance, starts out in a circus-like frenzy then slows to crawl before speeding back up with Charleston-esque flair. But it’s “Mobligations” that really highlights Syrinx Effect’s instrumental storytelling chops. It starts with a spare intro of horns and drums, played staccato-like and contrasted against near silence. The song builds into a sultry melody: horns and drums strut and eddy, marching forward like a ragtag Mardi Gras band winding down for the night. The final minute in the six-minute track drops suddenly into an ominous soundscape where horns honk like geese passing across a full moon buried in fog. It’s a cinematic piece that makes a strong case for the marriage of electronic toys and brass.
Ear Candy hosts a listening party for Syrinx Effect’s A Sky You Could Strike a Match On, Thu., Feb. 8, at 6 PM.