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Local musicians put out album of raw creativity

  • 'LNDNGS' by Ethan McBrien, Rory Hurley, and Charlie Chronopoulos. Courtesy photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 11/27/2020 10:46:14 AM

When Ethan McBrien, Rory Hurley and Charlie Chronopoulos sat down in McBrien’s Nelson living room a couple years ago for what could be considered a musical exploration between the three, something organic happened.

At first it was quiet and light, so much so Chronopoulos thought to himself, “is anyone going to play?” McBrien and Hurley have been making music together for almost a decade and a half, so Chronopoulos was the newcomer and unsure of what to expect. But that soft start was just the opening they needed to actually listen and truly hear the sounds that were being created. Like most first time jam sessions between musicians who have never played as a collective, there were some uncertain moments. But by the end of that first journey, it was clear there was a musical partnership in the making.

They agreed to get together again, but that next time would be at Chronopoulos’s Wilton studio with the record button turned on. Over the course of three sessions – about four to five hours each – the trio just improvised. The result of those musical conversations is LNDNGS, a new album of nine tracks, title based on points of interest on Mt. Monadnock, put out by Trailing Twelve Records.

“After two or three sessions there was definitely this feel to what we were doing,” Chronopoulos said. “It just naturally and organically unfolded.”

And in a time where musicians don’t have gigs lined up, it allows them to go back to the content creation aspect of their craft.

“The byproduct of that is worth sharing every time,” Chronopoulos said.

During their musical experiment, there was a lot that worked and other parts that didn’t. As they listened to the recordings of their sessions, it was clear that they had something and the journey of playing music together morphed from there.

What music enthusiasts will find on the album is a raw look at what happened during those times together. While a lot of musicians will go back, find what worked and then tweak from that initial recording, McBrien, Hurley and Chronopoulos decided to take those raw pieces that showed that initial connection and put it out for the world to hear.

McBrien and Hurley first came together with Youngest Sun and then as the duo Party of the Sun. A few years back, McBrien decided to host some open jam sessions at his Nelson home, inviting musicians to come and play, and see what happened.

After a few times, McBrien and Hurley decided they wanted to keep it going, but strip it down a bit. Enter Chronopoulos.

“He asked me up for a jam and I didn’t know what to expect,” Chronopoulos said.

McBrien and Chronopoulos had talked music before and at one point a bell went off for McBrien that “hey, this guy might be into something like this.” So they all got together and started playing. What you’ll hear on LNDNGS is the evolution of their musical journey, one they invite the listener to take with them.

Not all of what they played was quite in sync, but there were these stretches that just seemed too good to not share.

“You end up in these spaces that are really cool,” McBrien said. “You could see where it all fell into place.”

They started to record more and as time went on decided they had enough to release an album, one that is a far different venture than all three are used to.

“What we played at the time is what it is,” McBrien said.

There are no lyrics, but rather just three musicians playing what felt right at the time, trying to find a rhythm and a togetherness they thought others would benefit from.

“It just kind of grew in stages,” Chronopoulos said.

Those hours of playing and recording resulted in nine tracks, ranging in length from a minute and a half to 11 minutes for a total of close to 50 minutes of raw musical fusion – but it’s not the end of this collaboration. The three local musicians got together for another session toward the end of the summer and is the beginning of what will hopefully be another album down the road.

“We’re just going to keep with the same model,” McBrien said.

In reality, the album is almost secondary to the creative process.

“We’re really trying to open the door for playing and creating musically,” McBrien said.

The album is available at The Toadstool Bookshop.

For more, visit http://www.trailingtwelve.com/ lndngs-lndngs-lp.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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