Cutleri is an all-women trio based in Brooklyn, NY who play an original blend of folk and experimental music, fashioning themselves as “chamber folk”. Since their formation in early 2009, Cutleri’s varied approach to genre has led them to veer off into sea shanties, chamber music, operatic vocal lines, lyric and dissonant three-part harmonies, and raucous rhythms within their songwriting. This eclectic repertoire is accompanied by an unorthodox instrumentation drawn from John Cage and the Fluxus artists of the sixties that features the sound of candlesticks, typewriters, and gardening equipment, allowing the group to transmute traditional folk, and redefine the genre for a contemporary audience. The performance of more conventional instrumentation within the band is approached with this same inspiration in mind, leading to otherworldly, abrasive violin licks combined with slippery, psychedelic clarinet lines, all underpinned by a banjo sound that can be melodious and soothing one moment, and percussive and arrhythmic the next.
This infusion of the avant-garde into traditional folk formats has allowed Cutleri to enjoy appeal to a wide range of audiences, enabling them to perform at a variety of music venues throughout the northeast. As a result, Cutleri has extended their versatility and innovation to their live performances, molding themselves to suit to intimate, acoustic venues like Pete’s Candy Store, The Chelsea Hotel, and Zebulon in New York City, as well as Zuzu at The Middle East in Boston and The Grape Room in Philadelphia, while enhancing their larger shows at NYC venues such as Monkeytown, Cinema Unseen in NYU’s University Settlement and Public Assembly with additional musicians, and visuals shaped for their performances in real time, courtesy of Waking Dream Visuals.
Cutleri is Jessie Shaffer (Fork), Heidi Harris (Knife), and Christen Napier (Spoon).
Jessie Shaffer is a classically trained violinist and self-trained singer who has been playing in bands and writing music since the late nineties and recently released her first solo album, Pulling at My Skirts. Her tastes range from the music of medieval composer Hildegard von Bingen, Meredith Monk and Pauline Oliveros to Rasputina, The Dirty Three and Bikini Kill.
Heidi Harris is a self taught musician focusing on a variety of styles. Her music often falls within the genre of New Weird America. Her creative practice is based on her understanding of, and intimacy with, a variety of traditional and non-traditional sound sources. Her most recent solo release is titled: In the Lee.
Christen Napier is originally a visual artist and her approach to music has always been quite visual as well. She is a self taught multi-instrumentalist, but her main instrument is the banjo, which she enjoys playing in styles ranging from clawhammer to experimental improvisation. Christen’s debut solo album, Arc Hive, is due for release in spring 2013.
Jessie Shaffer (Fork) - Vocals, Violin, mandolin, Melodica
Heidi Harris (Knife) - Vocals, Guitar, Percussion, Harmonica, keyboard, theremin, Clarinet
Christen Napier (Spoon) - Banjo, Vocals, Percussion, Typewriter, jawharp
"We Sink Ships", 2012 ~ We Sink Ships will take you on a ride. Cutleri’s debut album veers into sea shanties, chamber music, luminous harmonies, down-home rawness, abstract collages, and raucous rhythms.
We Sink Ships was recorded and produced at Barefoot Flamingo Recording alongside the beautiful Delaware River in Barryville, NY.
Mario Salvati ~ Engineer and Producer
Nicole Penix ~ Co-engineer
Cutleri: Jessie Shaffer (Fork), Heidi Harris (Knife), and Christen Napier (Spoon)
added instrumentation and vocals by, Mike Milazzo (Ladle) and Matt Boyle (Wine Key)
artwork by, Matt Boyle www.dominantfiction.com
"Let Me Show You My Sweater", 2011 ~ A collection of live performances and early recordings.
Lots of streaming music and mp3's on websites below...
neue töne (1152): cutleri
[+ Show ]
mit heidi harris hatten wir uns bereits einvernehmlich beschäftigt und dabei nicht unerwähnt gelasse...mit heidi harris hatten wir uns bereits einvernehmlich beschäftigt und dabei nicht unerwähnt gelassen, dass sie fester bestandteil von cutleri ist, einem trio, das ergänzung findet in jessie shaffer und christen napier. gemeinsam mit mike milazzo und matt boyle haben die drei nun ihr debutalbum "we sink ships" eingespielt. dem ersten offiziellen werk ging übrigens eine songsammlung namens "let me show you my sweater" voraus, auf der die drei mädels livedarbietungen und frühe aufnahmen vereint wissen wollten.
über akustischer grundlage fegt ein weicher, warmer soundwind wie vor einem frischen sommerguss. die vokalen einsätze sind breit gefächert und meist von mehreren damen befeuert. ein einklang, ein bild wie aus einer laune, einer träumerei, da man sich in muße gehen lässt. die gestrichene saite einer violine verstärkt den romantischen charakter. manchmal gehts auch profaner und ein paar gestolperte perkussive elemente führen in eine angeblueste atmosphäre, aus der sich der singsang, die glöckchen und eine wackelige fidel schälen. mundharmonika und banjo formvollenden. wer sich bis dahin etwas experimentellere töne erhofft hat, geht dennoch nicht leer aus. denn die drei damen tragen durchaus den vorwurf weird nach, dumpf mäandernde holzbläser, windschiefe rasseln, eine driftende geige und stimmen, die sich mit diesem rauschen verheiraten. doch ordnungen finden sich wieder, die eine folksprache sprechen, die der amerikanischen tradition frönt. schlingernd findet eine nummer wie "we shouldn't talk about it" ausgang in einer wilden klarinettenhatz. am schönsten ist es , wenn sich die so unterschiedlichen stimmen treffen, um zu harmonisieren, sich aufeinander einzustellen.
"we sink ships" ist eine wundertüte voller vortrefflicher songs, die für sich stehen können und am bande gereiht eine schmuck anzuschauende kette bilden.
New Sounds (1152): Cutleri
Heidi Harris, who we've already reviewed, is an integral component of Cutleri, a trio that includes Jessie Shaffer and Christen Napier. Together with Mike Millazzo and Matt Boyle, the three have now recorded their debut album. Their first official release was a collection of songs by the name of "Let Me Show You My Sweater", which combined live performances and early recordings. With a sweeping acoustic foundation that sounds like a soft warm summer wind before it blows, the vocals are diverse and mostly composed of several female voices in harmony, like a moody picture that you can take in at your leisure with the painted strings of the violin enhancing its romantic character. The singing is also gritty at times and driven by a few percussive elements that create a bluesy atmosphere with licks of merrily shaken bells. Harmonica and banjo complete the musical form. If you are hoping for more experimental sounds, you won’t be disappointed, because the three women veer off in weird directions after the initial impression, with hollow meandering woodwinds, warped rattles, and drifting violins making for an agreeable marriage. These experimentations are tempered and speak a language of folk that indulges in the American tradition, but then unexpectedly lurch into a song like “Probably, but We Shouldn’t Talk About It” with its wild clarinet licks. The music is at its most beautiful when the diverse vocals meet in harmony, adjusting themselves to one another. “We Sink Ships” is a wondrous collection of excellent songs that can stand alone or form the links to a very decorative chain.
Cutleri – Let Me Show You My Sweater (folk/ Americana)
[+ Show ]
Production standards for self released music have become so generically polished and exact, that it ...Production standards for self released music have become so generically polished and exact, that it has almost ceased to be meaningful or valuable to release a well recorded album. I’m being facetious, obviously, and of course I like to hear music I like sounding good, but sometimes the slickness of everything becomes incredibly desolate; some noise, some artifacts, and the boxy sound of cheaper equipment can serve as a welcome reminder that a recording embodies something real. Recordings are artistic constructions, and it’s a fallacy to think they represent an impression of something else, but sometimes their impact rests on the sensation that they do.
I’m not accusing Cutleri of recording badly, deliberately or otherwise, and nor am I suggesting they’ve taken a self-consciously constructivist approach to making this album. It’s very simply a collection of demos and live recordings, assembled with minimal (if any) mastering and made available for free in advance of their forthcoming debut. But the fact that it is full of noises off, hisses and crackles, uncontrollable giggling and general tomfoolery paints a far more detailed and revealing portrait of the band than a glossy studio recording might; it may not be an accurate portrait, and it may indeed be a contrived one, but it gives the listener the impression they are genuinely getting to know the band, and they’ll want to believe it, because the impression it gives is so damn’ charming!
The ingredients here (as far as I can make out) are banjo, ukulele, harmonica, three female voices in harmony, and a variety of percussion and wind instruments. The material ranges from the traditional to the bizarre, by way of Broadway: there’s a Brian Jonestown Massacre cover, the eighteenth century song ‘Shady Grove’, ‘Moon River’, a sparse improvisation populated with vocal saxophone impressions (‘Let Me Show You My Sweater’), a song one of the members wrote to sing to her cat (‘Weasel Goose’) and… well, you get the idea.
I expect their upcoming studio release will be more polished and finished: Cutleri are not about to upturn any applecarts with their technical skills, but they are able players with a good command of their instruments’ and voices’ dramatic and expressive potential. They perform their songs with such humour and casual diffidence that it’s obvious a technically polished performance is not their central aim, and nor is entertainment, though they are certainly entertaining. This is music performed for the performers’ pleasure: not in an exclusive way, but with an invitation to the listener to join the party, and you can hear these three women are having so much fun that it’s a party you want to join.
Not only are all three ladies of Cutleri instrumentalists and vocalists, they are all song-writers. Cutleri's repertoire is quite eclectic, and mostly original music. There is something at a Cutleri show for everyone...
There are no upcoming dates at this time.