People of the North is Kid Millions and Bobby Matador. The duo has a long history for creating explorative music and of pushing the limits in performance (Kid Millions as Man Forever and behind the kit in Oneida, Bobby Matador on guitar, vocals and organ in Oneida). As the duo People of the North, they have released a series of limited Long Player-only meditations on a particular musical concept. The parameters they set for themselves and the challenges they embody are often immense. The duo’s core raison d’etre is to create relentlessly abstract music. It should be no surprise that their albums are quickly snapped up by New Music devotees.
People of the North’s The Caul is a musical attempt to grapple with the forces of one’s personal desires and own inherent limitations in perceiving and understanding reality. Cauls are the membranes that cover the heads and faces of some babies when they are born, and in some folklore, caul-bearers are able to shift between logical and liminal states. “There are historical associations with cauls around precognition, superstition, and protection,” Bobby explains. “The process of creating this music was intended to replicate experiences that are difficult to express or navigate through rational process.”
Improvisation and experimentation are musical languages, and the best speakers are active practitioners. People of the North has been playing together and speaking these languages together for over 25 years. This album is a rare performance where one can hear this conversation without other voices. The album title track is one of the only true duo tracks in People of the North’s history — Kid and Bobby have previously recruited others including Barry London and Shahin Motia of Oneida and Richard Hoffman (Sightings) to play with them in the past — and the pair’s fluency with experimentation is evident throughout The Caul. And, as if to defy your expectations, the duo presents “A Real Thing You Can Know,” the band’s most linear, explicitly emotional track recorded to date.
The Caul was recorded over the course of two days at Potterville International Sound in upstate New York with multi-instrumentalist Jamie Saft (a renowned keyboardist and composer who scored the Oscar-nominated documentary Murderball), who plays on the album’s second track “Surfacing” and “A Real Thing You Can Know”. People of the North will be playing select performances through the remainder of 2016 and into 2017. While commercial factors often determine what is written into musical history, one should not forget that innovators, like People of the North, shape music.
Era of Manifestations
People of the North (Live on WKCR)