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The best kept secret in music

Press


"Boston Phoenix"

Timewellspent
TIMEWELLSPENT
(PARASOL)

The debut from duo Casey Fundaro and Christopher Moll as timewellspent occupies its own little corner of the pop universe — a place that seems both familiar and foreign. Fundaro’s whispery voice echoes Zombie Colin Blunstone’s, and the willowy production — with its way-down-tempo rhythms and loping steel guitars — conjures Meddle-era Floyd, but overall this collection of curios is like nothing you think you may have heard. An air of wistful regret hovers over these tunes like tule fog, no more so than on the yearning "I Know You," in which the singer pines for an estranged lover against a melody that recalls "Strawberry Fields Forever" played at half speed. On "Anyone to Be," love’s object is unattainable altogether: "Glimpsing at a narrow space/Lost inside your somber face/Knowing there’s no room/For anyone/Anyone to be." Occasionally, things get a bit precious — the Bacharachian "Probably" is as twee as an artfully sewn doily — and the lyrics sometimes lapse into cliché (let’s finally banish "building castles in the sand" from the lexicon). But these minor quibbles should not take away from what is essentially a bleakly gorgeous, delicately doomy account of the rigors of love.
- Eliot Wilder


"In Music We Trust"

timewellspent
timewellspent (Parasol Records)


Casey Fundaro and Christopher Moll, dba timewellspent, have herein not only embraced and thus revived the long-thought-lost art of the Album as a singular listening experience, but in the process created an actual 32-minute movie for the ears in the grand tradition of "Pepper," "Pet Sounds," and other such long-playing gems from ages past.
And yes, while all requisite musical signposts are recognizable herein through the rear-view, from Wilson (as in DENNIS, mind you) to Bacharach and beyond, the crystalline production techniques -- other-worldly vocal washes in particular -- ensure this entire endeavor is much, much more than a mere exercise in retro. This actual song cycle, complete with introductory and concluding vignettes plus delicate instrumental interludes woven throughout, shows an above keen attention to compositional AND structural detail, yet the basis always rests firmly within the melodic bounds of classic Pop as we should all still know and love it (imagine, if you can, Lindsey Buckingham taking the sonic reigns for a Left Banke reunion album, I kid you not!)

The keyboards -- stately chamber-sounding at one moment, then recklessly garage-like the next -- provide timewellspent's basis, while the guitars are wisely used more for flavor, a la the slide of the classic Pink Floyd. Again, this only proves the clinical attention-to-detail Fundaro and Moll demonstrate throughout this exemplary work.

Indeed, for any and all out there who demand a bit more substance to their sound, listening to this disc will be without one single doubt, dare I say it, timewellspent.


- Gary "Pig" Gold


"Fufkin.com"

timewellspent
timewellspent

(Parasol)

parasol.com

This band is well named. The phrase ‘time well spent' is indicative of things that have already happened, which often means reflection is in order. When you are not specifically in the present, you are then evoking the past. And this record is evokes both sensations of great music of the past, but evokes a wide range of sensations in the present.

Putting aside the music itself, this record is so much about mood. Some of the best pop music manages to mix intimacy with a grander sense of scale. I suppose Pet Sounds is the premiere example of this blend (or is it a tension?). The music is large and layered. However, the vocals and the laconic, precise lyrics are direct and oh so human. The cover is blue hued, which is the only way this could have been packaged.

Casey Fundaro and Christopher Moll are the duo behind this record, with help from various musicians. Moll produces the record and Thom Monahan of Pernice Brothers mixed the record. Getting the sound right was clearly a priority. Moll plays a lengthy list of instruments, and a lot of good decisions were made here as to when space needed to be created, what needed to be emphasized, and so forth.

The softer side of ‘60s pop provides the obvious foundation for the collection. Only in a few instances can you point out a specific point of inspiration. Only on "Probably" is the debt made 100% obvious, with its Bacharach-inspired intro a perfect lead-in to this mild bossa nova tune. This track is a good example of the timewellspent working method. As the second verse begins, more instruments get added. Bells and vibes double up or work in sympathy with the central piano part, and then when the chorus hits, the Bacharach part is reintroduced. The song even ends with a nice touch, as a burst of Hammond organ subtly plays during the fade.

A Farfisa organ begins my favorite track on the album, "Effigy". While more associated with garage rock, Moll blends the Farfisa with some twang guitar, the Farfisa carrying the melody into a brief quiet passage, Fundaro singing over his drumming, before the song swells with guitars, keyboards and harmonies in a joyous release. The string interlude after the second chorus is a jawdropping surprise. The overall effect of the song is of a collaboration between Elvis Costello and the Attractions and The Left Banke, with the Banke taking the song over in the end.

The music takes a turn towards a more urgent form of pop on "Sitting By the Window", which fits in well with some of the recent music from Pernice Brothers and Granddaddy. Yet it manages to be a bit more rocking than either, while remaining a bit more delicate than either. Moll's Farfisa is again a star, though you can't overlook drummer Mike Federline's refined pounding – he drives the song without overwhelming it.

Throughout the record, Fundaro sings at the high end of his range. As a result, he has an extremely vulnerable quality. This matches up well with the simple lyrics, that are haikus of hope and regret. For example, in the aforementioned "Window", in about 15 short lines, he quickly details the story of a broken hearted lover who observes (and may be spying on) an ex – it's a "never ending blow", though it also seems self-inflicted. On the pretty "I Want to Tell You", Fundaro sharply gets at the heart of intimacy, and how opening up may "set [you] free", but it takes a lot of trust: "Is who I see now who you are?"

One thing that I think separates the softer side of rock from the mellow sounds of the pre-rock era is the blues. So even when rock songs tend towards beauty rather than riffs, they have a decidedly personal component missing from the Tin Pin Alley hits of the ‘30s and ‘40s. Sometimes the personal is specific and the pain autobiographical, other times, as on this album, the experiences being sung about are more universal. Nevertheless, whether glistening or haunting, the songs on this album grab the ears and reach for something deeper. Fundaro and Moll have made an album that isn't just catchy, it translates feelings into music.

- Mike Bennett


"Fufkin.com"

timewellspent
timewellspent

(Parasol)

www.parasol.com
www.timewellspentmusic.com

U.S. Release Date: August 10, 2004
Available now by mail order at parasol.com

When You Want Something Done Right
(Sometimes You Have To Do It Yourself)

It took about two years---as in 24 months---for timewellspent’s brainchild to gestate. That’s the amount of time Casey Fundaro and Christopher Moll, plus a handful of other musicians, spent recording their debut album. It’s the amount of time Moll spent producing and engineering it. When they finished, Thom Monahan of Pernice Brothers was asked, and agreed, to mix the record for them before they handed it off to Jeff Lipton, who’s also worked with Pernice Brothers, to master it.

timewellspent met and took root when Fundaro, an established pop musician
who’d drummed and sang in bands, on tribute compilations (and grew up around his professional rock 'n roller uncle, Three Dog Night vocalist Danny Hutton), placed an ad looking for a musician to work with around his home in South Florida.

Enter multi-talent Chris Moll, also an established musician in South Florida, who can play, er, apparently most anything. And knows how to do, apparently, most everything else, that needs to be done to make a recording.

The duo’s/project’s title, timewellspent, well-chosen as it is, doesn’t begin to reflect what these talents have birthed. They set about making a great sounding, well-produced contemporary pop record that would incorporate classic pop references and artists, without sounding retro. And slowly but surely, they’ve surpassed their expectations?

It’s probably precise to reckon that Moll’s time consuming attention to detail with production, and both of their painstaking desire for new sounds with genuine instruments gave the album its multi-layered, textural sound and feel. The sounds are actually genuine, which is rare on a DIY-IYH record. What they couldn’t do themselves, they hired, not that there wasn’t much they couldn’t do.

By the second full song on this album, “i know you” something else becomes quite evident: while this work is indeed heavily under the influence of ‘60s pop, the production is space-aged, twenty-first century. It’s Pet Sounds by Sparklehorse, Bacharach via Radiohead. My initial reaction to this record was of listening to songs through ocean waves, in aerated, washed colors. It’s still my reaction, and it does not imply muffled production. There’s something breezy and otherworldly to this record.

There are sounds you might hear on rock records, on very out there
indie records.

This is not the sound of a "pop" record, until now.

The other departure from the ordinary is the melancholia that permeates the album’s lyrical content on some songs, shifting to near-resolute optimism on alternate tracks. Somehow, in doing so, Fundaro has tweaked the typical boy meets girl loses boy pop song construct. Strung together at times by common, yet in this context, also the strangest things---voices talking, children bickering, people laughing---he’s composed a very intimate, smart series of songs that manage to be warm while avoiding cloying sentimentality, engaging without inducing paranoid claustrophobia. “anyone to be” must be one of the most beautiful, but anguished, songs ever written about the girl who got away. Even if she didn’t get that close.

The album isn’t hurt in any way by his voice, a gorgeous tenor that did all of the vocals for the record---he has that “pop” voice. Just think: Elliott Smith, the Posies, Teenage Fanclub, the Beatles, the Beach Boys circa ’66. Pet Sounds fans will clamor after “deora”. The real prize here, on an entire album’s worth of gems, belongs to “effigy” with its whirling, half-psychedelic organs and unforgettable, stunner of a coda.

While low-key in mood, timewellspent is ultimately a really great orchestral pop record, turned into leftfield a notch. There are super-fans of actual ‘60s pop out there who’ll be blown away by the spot-on reference to Bacharach and enchanted by the modern uses of Wurlitzer pianos. The rest of us might ponder how something this sophisticated can remain so poignant.


- Shona Winfrey


"Power of Pop"

timewellspent
(Parasol)
www.parasol.com

You know, the beauty of our beloved art-form is simply this – we are not ashamed or blinkered to believe that there is anything new under the sun (to paraphrase scripture) – everything in modern music has a root in the past. Reference points and influences are inevitable, it’s not the form it’s the substance – the talent and skill lies in what you do with the tools every musician and songwriter shares with the weight of 40-plus years of great rock and pop music.

Messrs. Fundaro and Moll – with the aid of David Rubenstein, Jason Knapfel, Mike Federline and significantly, Thom (Pernice Brothers) Monahan on the mixing boards – have distilled the heady inspiration of 60s atmospheric baroque/chamber soft-country-folk-pop to deliver a stunning collection of songs that would sit comfortably with the discerning pop listener’s library of Burt Bacharach, Beach Boys (circa Pet Sounds and beyond), psychedelic Beatles, Syd Barrett, Zombies, Left Banke, ELO, Todd Rundgren, Mercury Rev, Flaming Lips, Grandaddy, Beck, American Music Club, High Llamas, Mojave 3 and yes, Pernice Brothers.

Suffice to say that fans of these great artists will find timespentwell an appealing proposition as Fundaro/Moll have succeeded at infusing their exquisite creations with the elements that they no doubt love and I’ll wager, you’ll have no problem being enamored with. A+ www.timewellspentmusic.com

- Kevin Mathews


"The Onion"

...[t]he DIY pop is much lusher on timewellspent's eponymous Parasol debut (Buy It!), which delivers compact doses of psychedelic-tinged lite rock, with Pink Floyd and Steely Dan as clear reference points. Recorded on a budget but given a polished mix by Pernice Brothers' Thom Monahan, the record possesses a small-scale majesty that's intermittently wondrous...

- None


"Baby Sue"

Timewellspent - Timewellspent (CD, Parasol, Soft pop)
Cool, dreamy, soft, atmospheric pop. Timewellspent is the Fort Lauderdale-based duo of Casey Fundaro and Christopher Moll. Both write the music while Fundaro writes all the lyrics. Moll plays most of the instruments...including guitars, piano, organ, percussion, and more. Fundaro (nephew of Three Dog Night's Danny Hutton) and Moll are well-suited for one another. Their minds come together to create absolutely wonderful subtle tunes that sound like heaven in a convenient digital format. The vocals are breathy and subdued...and the arrangements are extraordinarily tasteful. The top-notch mixing was provided by producer extraordinaire Thom Monahan (of the Pernice Brothers)...so you know everything sounds great (!). The lyrics are well above average. Our favorite line is from the tune "Millionaire": I want to be a millionaire, maybe then I'll know you'll stay. Poignant to say the least. Timewellspent is a well thought out project from start to finish. The duo's music has a classic sound that will surely stand the test of time. Soothing light pop tunes include "Hello," "Anyone To Be," "Sitting By The Window," and "Goodbye." An excellent spin. (Rating: 5+++) - None


"Punk Planet, Alternative Press, St. Petersburg Times, Salt Lake Tribune, Columbus Alive and others"

"...as precious goes, these songs couldn't get any more
so." Punk Planet

"...It has been years since a band have perfected the sort of gauzy dream pop that timewellspent so clearly specialize in..." Alternative Press

"...they have learned a lot from Bob Dylan, The Band and The Velvet Underground. timewellspent has brought a stately touch of pop to their rock influences and have grown noisier in their experimentation." Best Album of the Week, The John Shelton Ivany Top 21 #191 August 21, 2004 to August 28, 2004

"...If you love the sophistication and airiness of Burt Bacharach tunes, the harmonies of the Beatles and the Beach Boys, the layers of 1970s Pink Floyd, you will sink into the songs of timewellspent." St. Petersburg Times, September 5, 2004

"...musical poetry, sensitive and intelligent renderings of feelings captured successfully in true alternative/indie fashion: seemingly simple, but musically complex." PopMatters, September 9, 2004

"Timewellspent's main reference point is undoubtedly The Zombies' Odyssey and Oracle: no shortage of breathy vocals, melancholy demeanor and Farfisa organ here. Not since Eric Matthews has anyone attempted so blatant an homage, and so effectively captured such an ineffably sad, cathedral-like beauty." Splendid, September 2, 2004

Top CD Release, Salt Lake Tribune, August 23, 2004

Like heralds of a pop orchestral eucharist, the south
Florida duo known as timewellspent create a debut
of sophisticated communion that is as much influential
sacrament to a bevy of musical inspirations as it is innovative amalgam to true believers of contemporary pop consecration...[the songs are] varied + fine arrangements far beyond most mortal pop. Mitch Lemay, KFJC-FM, 89.7, Los Altos Hills, CA


"...the orchestral pop of The Left Banke, Bacharach and Odyssey and Oracle is still seldom heard and less often done well. That makes the debut of this south Florida duo worth picking up on general principles..."
Graffiti Online

"...[timewellspent's] music has an overall melancholy but a little bit beachy theme and ought to be welcomed warmly by fans of Burt Bacharach and Belle and Sebastian alike."
-30- Music

"The master would be proud of “Probably, ” a track that dives straight into Bacharach territory with a sweetly sassy horn section and light, jazzy backbeat that’s augmented with some upbeat piano playing. What follows is possibly the greatest three-song suite I’ve heard on a pop album in awhile. “Millionaire,” “Sitting by the Window,” and “Letting Go” all flow into each other without pause, and though they’re all completely different stylistically, they’re completely perfect when paired with each other." Delusions of Adequacy, 9/2/2004

"...tailor-made soundtracks for hot air balloon rides through puffy clouds. Close your eyes, put on your headphones and enjoy." Columbus Alive

"...bathed in melodic sophistication." John Borack, Amplifier.

"...timewellspent, indeed." Bruce Brodeen, Not Lame Recordings

"...[t]he music has a vitality that stresses its modern dynamicity over a retro spirit that is minimally derivative so as to be homage and never plagiarism." Buzz Online, (University of Illinois)

"...melodic mood rock derived from Pink Floyd, the Beatles and the like. Throaty vocals and haunting synthetic poppy melodies. Feels like the '60s again!" Maximum Ink

- None


Discography

timewellspent: timewellspent (Parasol)

Visit this page for info and download: http://parasol.com/labels/parasol/parcd091.asp

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

The debut release of timewellspent is best described as an ambient, subtle, poignant, somewhat shoegazey cross between The Beatles, Beach Boys, Burt Bacharach, The Zombies and Pink Floyd. The collaboration of Casey Fundaro and Christopher Moll has resulted in a recording highlighted by unique sounds, complex harmonies and simple lyrics. The melancholy but hopeful theme of the recording, brought to life by the care taken in the writing, recording and mixing of the debut, is at the root of the band name, timewellspent.

In making the record, their first question was: how would a Paul McCartney or Brian Wilson approach the songs with the tools we have today like computers, editing software, samples and the like? Their answer was to use the best vintage source material, i.e., drums, guitars, amps and mics, and combine them with the flexibility and options made available by computers, editing software and processing software.

As Chris says: "...[t]he tools we have today are infinitely more than the mellotrons, theremins and other instruments that Brian and Paul had in the '60s. To try to do another "Pet Sounds"," Sergeant Pepper's", "Dark Side of the Moon" or whatever you consider classic makes no sense. Those records were made with state of the art, cutting edge tools of their time and the results had not been accomplished before. At the end of the day, your recording will be a derivative 'attempt' at a clone, no matter how good it is. We were inspired by great artists like The Zombies, Beach Boys, Beatles and present day artists that are pushing the envelope with new sounds, much of it done at home. Our goal was to create something contemporary without trying to make a recording that sounded retro at all. I think we accomplished our goal."

Casey adds: "...contemporary bands like Wilco, Radiohead, The Flaming Lips and Pernice Brothers take the best of diverse influences and create music that has defined the bar as to what is quality contemporary pop music. Diverse influences are there, but you can't pick just one. The great bands of today are a product of influences of every quality artist and genre from jazz, country, blues to standard pop. The Beatles are the prototype example of the sum of diverse influences. I wanted to try to come up with a record that had structure like a classical symphony with the main elements of rock, pop, psychedelia, jazz and Broadway styles."

Chris and Casey met when Chris answered Casey's ad for musicians in their home base of South Florida. Casey Fundaro had played drums in numerous indie rock bands prior to meeting Chris. He had most recently fronted a guitar pop band with one CD release along with several contributions to various compilations. Notably, Casey grew up around rock 'n roll. He is the nephew of Danny Hutton, the founder of '70s hit makers Three Dog Night.

Christopher Moll had been a key member of the South Florida music scene for over a decade. Chris fronted and founded 23, a band whose drummer, Alex Gimino, went on to play in Ursula 1000. 23's sound was in the Brit Pop tradition of The Boo Radleys and The Stone Roses. From his time with 23, Chris' passion for experimentation in engineering and recording, combined with his multi-instrumental talents, made him a perfect partner for Casey and his songs.

Chris describes the evolution of his collaboration with Casey: "...[t]here was a melancholy and hopeful message in Casey's songs that comes from a sincere place. I thought that with some extra care and some attention to detail the new songs would come to life. I saw us as kind of a reverse Van Dyke Parks/Brian Wilson collaboration: Casey had lyrics and the basic songs; I had the sounds and production skills to bring the material to a higher level. What started as a producer-artist relationship evolved into a true collaboration and friendship."

When the record was done, Chris and Casey contacted Thom Monahan of Monsterland, Lilys and Pernice Brothers fame. A few e-mails and months later, Thom agreed to do the mixes. Chris and Casey flew to New York and mixed the CD with Thom and Ken Heitmueller. The record presented unique challenges as there were many tracks, complex vocal harmonies, string arrangements, samples and choices to be made. As expected, Thom and Ken made the right choices. The mastering by Jeff Lipton, whose past work includes Pernice Brothers and The Magnetic Fields "69 Love Songs", brought the sound to an even higher level.

As Casey explains: "I wanted to communicate through this recording the power of human connection. People come in and out of our lives. Friendships and relationships that are fleeting and those that are life long begin with a hello and usually don't even end with a goodbye. What is profound to you may mean nothing to someone else. But random human connection can also have major impact leading to brief as well as lifelong relationships. The time spent to make, keep and break human connection is a common theme throu