The Home of Easy Credit is the husband/wife duo of Louise Dam Eckardt Jensen and Tom Blancarte, whose intricate, dense work together is hard to define in terms of genre. This music shifts between worlds of composition and free improvisation, pop, avant-jazz, postmodern classical, psychedelic and electroacoustic work, often woven within the boundaries of each track.
Jensen primarily focuses on alto saxophone and voice performance with electronic manipulation. She builds layers of sound with live electronics and loops, over which motivic materials are often reinterpreted or extended. And Blancarte (who also played on the beautiful "Fire Sign" album from Jeremiah Cymerman that I recently reviewed) creates a powerful foundation for this music with his amplified upright bass work, mostly playing with more conventional pitched ideas to hold everything together, though he does get into extended techniques like bowed harmonics and sul ponticello passages when the music heads into more ethereal territory. The pair make an incredible amount of sound on their own, and once loop-building is added to their approach, you would never imagine this music coming from only two performers with no overdubs.
Although The Home of Easy Credit covers a wide stylistic territory, this music evolves through structured consideration: these pieces fuse raw musical materials together slowly and thoughtfully, adding and removing layers with patience. I like my share of collage/cutup compositions, but there's something about these kinds of more mature methodical fusions of sound. They tend to stay with you longer. It also invites a more participatory kind of listening--I feel like I can get "inside" these tracks, as opposed to looking at them on a wall. They're plaintive, emotional pieces, and they readily invite you inside. Check out a track from the album, "The Feast of the Meal Replacement Bars" below, and you'll see what I mean.
Usually I don't have a strong opinion about the methods used in the creation of a good recording, but in this case I think that the "no overdubs" approach contributes a lot to the emotional intelligence of this music. The band's name and the titles of the tracks all point to frustration with the shallow artifice of consumer culture, toward having genuine shared experiences instead of choosing among brightly-colored, prepackaged Mcexperiences. These pieces succeed at being very complex and nuanced without losing a sense of intimacy. I can imagine how well this music translates live, a vibe that The Home of Easy Credit sustains by selecting small, intimate venues to play: galleries, coffee shops, house shows, all places where artists and audiences can be together with a minimum of mediation.
Fortunately, I won't have to simply imagine the live performance of this music for long, and maybe you won't, either: The Home of Easy Credit is on tour right now (check out their tour dates below). And their Lincoln, NE stop will be at my house! It seemed right to start hosting occasional shows as the opportunity presents itself, as I've been co-hosting a radio show and actively writing music reviews for a few years now. If you live in the area, you can keep up with our events on this blog, or "like" our Facebook page here.
Home of Easy Credit tour dates:
10/4 San Francisco @ The Luggage Store
10/7 Berkeley, CA @ Berkeley Arts Festival
10/8 Corvallis, OR @ The Red Room
10/9 Portland, OR @ Creative Music Guild
10/10 Seattle, WA @ 1412 Gallery
10/11 Caldwell, ID @ The Bird Stop Coffee House
10/13 Denver, CO @ Plus Gallery
10/14 Lincoln, NE @ Think Tank House (My house! This will also be the debut show for local duo Moss!)
10/15 Chicago, IL @ Jerry's
10/17 Cleveland, OH @ Black Cat Factory