Hailing from Brooklyn, New York this is the band Effi Briest. They are six skilled musicians - drummer Corinne Jones, bassist Elizabeth Hart, percussionist Jessica Stathos, vocalist Kelsey Barrett, bassist Rebecca Squires and guitarist Sara Shaw. The band takes their name from a German nineteenth century novel featuring Effi Briest, a tragic female protagonist and it’s her melancholic beguiling emotion that seemingly seeps throughout the band’s songs. Have a listen to “Long Shadow” below and stand amazed.
I talked with Corinne, Elizabeth and Kelsey, here’s what they had to say.
JW: What is one of your favorite sounds and what does it mean to you?
Corinne: DRUMZ! All kinds. They are a lifeline for me personally. And a fundamental power generally. For example, I was at an outdoor wedding and the power shut off, the band stopped, and everyone quit dancing and started booing. But the drummer kept going, building up a total freak out solo that coincided with fireworks. He was playing off the fireworks! It was amazing and of course saved the party. I was lucky enough to be part of Boadrum 88 this summer too which was transformative.
Elizabeth: BASS. Not necessarily a bass guitar, but the low end in general. And not necessarily the sound, but that you can feel bass vibrating through your whole body, which prompts me to move and dancing is my favorite thing in the world!
Kelsey: Sound bath of quartz crystal singing bowls. Growing up in the desert of California I’ve heard about a few seemingly mythical places tucked away in the sand. My last trip home I went exploring and found the Integratron. It’s a domed structure with perfect sacred geometry. It was built purposefully near “Giant Rock” the world’s largest free standing boulder but also built by happenstance on top of the underground convergence of three rivers. The space offers sound baths where a series of nine quartz crystal singing bowls are played. Each bowl keyed to a major chord, every chord systematically heals each chakra. It was strange being isolated in the desert lying on a yoga mat and a hippie blanket waiting for some kind of chakra activation. Our bowl player began letting the quartz sing… the sound rose up from the bowl and swirled molding to the interior of the dome. As the sound increased with speed it created a vortex drawing down toward the center of the dome. This center point in the Intergraton is confirmed to have an unexplainable spike in the Earth’s magnetic field by geophysics testing. The sound became a surging wave as we moved into the heart chakra. Strange small knots or imperfections in the sound scape appeared, perhaps the unsteady hand of the musician, stagnant energy or the domes deteriorating organic structure… My favorite sound is the descending monotone chords of quartz crystal embedded with these organic knots… I have to say F# was particularly arousing… the solar plex, the color yellow, power & will.
JW: Tell me about one of your most cherished records and why it is so important to you.
Corinne: I’ve been immersed in Arthur Russell’s “World of Echo” lately. The documentary out now “Wild Combination: A portrait of Arthur Russell” rekindled my interest and respect, I don’t think anyone in the contemporary arena can touch him. I’ve also been putting his dance tracks on a lot. Meanwhile, somewhere else on the spectrum entirely, I keep putting on Black Tambourine too.
Elizabeth: Lately I have been pretty into 90’s house/techno/dance music. N Joi’s Anthem and Mood II Swing’s Closer are two 12”’s in particular that I have had on heavy rotation.
Kelsey: That’s real hard. I’ve been collecting records on the Sleeping Bag label most recently.
JW: Who is a woman that has inspired you in your life, musically or otherwise?
Corinne: I always go back to the individualist, feminist and anarchist Emma Goldman when I’m lacking in the strength/determination/free will department. In her biography she described being called out by a comrade for dancing with reckless abandon because he thought it would damage the Cause: “I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things. Anarchism meant that to me, and I would live it in spite of the whole world–prisons, persecution, everything. Yes, even in spite of the condemnation of my own comrades I would live my beautiful ideal.” (i.e. If I can’t dance I won’t be part of you revolution!)
Elizabeth: Basically all the women in my life are who I have found to be the most inspiring; friends, collaborators, family.
Kelsey: Toody Cole from Dead Moon rules. Love Maria Sabina Garcia.
Download: Effi Briest - Long Shadow