Bernice Share a Playlist of the Instrumental Music That Influenced Their New Album
The experimental pop opus Eau de Bonjourno arrives this Friday via Telephone Explosion.
Through their individual careers playing in backing bands for artists ranging from Andy Shauf to Beverly Glenn-Copeland, the members of Bernice have absorbed an unbelievably wide scope of performing experience—as well as a broad spectrum of influences that inspired those artists they’ve played with. Naturally, the songs they compose together draw on a little bit of everything, from jazz and R&B to minimalist electronics and conventional rock.
Eau de Bonjourno, their latest opus, progressively hums and blips along through dance-y moments (recalling recent upbeat experimental jam projects like P.E.) and periods of introspection, resulting in a record that’s as pleasant as it is hard to pin down. While Robin Dann provides a vocal anchor through this serpentine tracklist, her backing band—keyboardist/guitarist Thom Gill, e-percussionist Philippe Melanson, bassist Daniel Fortin, and vocalist Felicity Williams—introduce all types of unique sounds that zag every time you anticipate a zig.
To speak to the instrumental side of the project, the band is sharing a playlist of non-vocal songs that helped shape the record, providing insight into each pick. Hear that below, and read on for a bit of commentary. You can pre-order the new record here.
Sawako, “jupiter c.loud”
Robin: This album gets me through.
Lindsay Cooper, “Botticelli”
Thom: Canterbury and beyond superstar, you always know it’s her. Her dark, earthy double-reed tones flatulating across your clothesline. Her comfy-cozy, retro-alien, light-is-dark harmonic lingos. Major. Rest on….
Actress, “Holy Water”
Phil: I love loops and digital texture.
Reid Anderson / Dave King / Craig Taborn, Golden Valley Is Now, “City Diamond”
Dan: I love this record. All of the parts are meticulously composed, but when everything is put together it has this energy that feels improvised somehow.
David Virelles, “The Scribe”
Felicity: I don’t know how to dream, but I’m dreaming.
William Lawes, Consort Music, “Fantazy (the sunrise)”
Robin: It’s like a perpetual opening, like a flower reaching up forever. Four hundred years old and still brand new.
Mary Watkins, “Silent Praise”
Thom: Huge fan of the whole Olivia Records world, but especially anything Mary has been a part of. This 2003 “meditational” is a newer vibe for her. Feels like pre-mirror stage Twin Peaks. Everything dry, thank gosh. (Peep the Olivia YouTube channel for a very recent home concert with Mary—a must.)
Ellen Arkbro, “Three”
Phil: I love patience and tuning.
Kenny Drew Trio, Pal Joey, “Do It the Hard Way”
Dan: I come back to this recording a lot—actually, sometimes I’ll just listen to the first five seconds a few times in a row. The rhythm section hookup is so beautiful, so instantly swinging right off the bat.
Arve Henriksen, “Plume of Ash”
Feli: Bought this record on a whim at Amoeba in LA and listened to this song over and over on subsequent drives through the desert—it’s acquired those vistas in my mind’s ear. If I could wallpaper my inner life with this shade of happy-sad, I might.