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  • Jonathan Widran

KODACROME, The Banff Sessions

Titles make for ironic distractions, sometimes. “Play Dead” and “Tender Exit” are the first two hypnotic, ethereal and dreamily ambient synth and vocal tracks from Kodacrome’s new EP The Banff Sessions, and yet the Brooklyn based duo of Elissa LeCoque (vocals/arrangements) and Ryan Casey (synth/production) have been in nonstop, travel-happy, manic expressive mode since they first met touring solo projects for the Belgian based label Marathon of Dope in 2009.

Knowing the details of their artistically diverse background isn’t necessary for getting emotionally sucked in/immersed in their haunting, moody piano driven dreamscapes (which reach an even deeper emotional fever pitch on the gently grooving “Catherine” and the haunting, whispery, then intensely booming “Oh, You Two”), but it can perhaps help you understand that their music as foundational aspect of a wide variety of more visual projects.

The two principals share a background in visual art, set-building, filmmaking and screenwriting. When they met, they began a cross country digital collaboration which ultimately bore fruit with some experimental live shows in the U.S. and Europe. The winding, creatively unpredictable road since (which included several popular albums) led a few years ago to artist residencies at the Mudhouse in Crete and the Banff Centre in Canada, where they studied the way orchestral instruments interacted with analog synths.

Their arrangement and recording of a chamber based redux album lead now to The Banff Sessions, on which the duo complements the core of his piano and her ethereal vocal beauty with strings and subtle touches of woodwinds, horns and ambient analog synth. The EP only runs 22 minutes, but it’s enough time to find yourself fully immersed in a sonic universe like no other. As Kodacrome, LeCoque and Casey invite you to experience a fascinating world where intimacy meets symphony and gentle grace meets visions of epic grandeur.

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