The Christoff brothers have roots in the Macedonia/Bulgaria area dating back to Ottoman times.  They’ve cultivated connections in there, and were even able to find family records in Istanbul. Imagine that! My experience in the records archive in Napoli was very different… My family comes from all over southern Italy, but  with some older roots in the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, and I think the three of us have bonded over these Mediterranean connections.

The three of us got together and improvised for two hours in August 2019, shortly after I moved back to Montreal from Napoli. Jordan lives on Vancouver Island out west so he was just in town for Mutek. We gathered in Stefan’s half-basement apartment on a warm summer day with little planning. We agreed on some key pitches and improvised, then agreed on some new pitches and improvised again.  I’m mostly playing an MC 303 and pedals that had been in storage, that I hadn’t touched for 16 months. And samples on an SP 404. No laptops or anything. Straight to the recorder. Jordan plays synth pads via an Elektron synth I think, and Stefan is playing electric guitar, sometimes with an ebow I lent him that day.

I finally cut those sessions up during quarantine, Stefan made some tweaks and a remix track that makes up the b-side and voilà. all improvised, no additional overdubs or post production.

It’s funny, the three of us are each very different. Stefan has been in Montreal for twenty years and mostly plays piano but his guitar playing has always been in that style and it really does evoke those classic images of Montreal. Jordan is from the west coast so he brings these positive vibes and the beautiful ambient chillness to the improv. And I just kinda dirty it up.

Thanks to Angel and AMEK Collective.

Vital Weekly:
Beep beep, goes my email, all day long. There is always a question to answer, an error to correct. Today, however, I had enough and should do what I know for many years is the best thing and that is to close the email program and take a dedicated moment every few hours to open the program, answer everything and close it again. I then made some tea (doctors orders!), picked up the second issue of Comfort Club, switched on the latest two releases by Amek Collective, sank back in a chair and started listening and reading. First, there was the Anarchist Mountains Trio, an actual trio of Jordan Christoff (synthesizer), Joseph Sannicandro (field recordings, electronics) and Stefan Christoff (electric guitar) and I sank back into a state of tranquillity. Finally! It was recorded on a summer’s day in Montreal and the six pieces are some absolutely gorgeous ambient spaces. A carefully constructed small orchestral sound exudes from these instruments, the guitar sounds like a cello, there are some bell sounds from the synthesizer and the field recordings are from a pastoral small village. Refined, lush textural music that came in like slow sea waves, coming, going, coming and going. It had that minuscule bits and pieces of experimental sound that makes this stay away from the ages, new and old. Those mechanical repetitions in ‘Conspiracy Means Breathing Together’ are an example of that. This is sixty minutes of pure sonic bliss, along the lines of Stars Of The Lid, but then even more spaced out, especially the side long ‘Wodka (rework)’; not my preferred drink, as tea did a better trick. …there is something pleasant and even light with Anarchist Mountains Trio… (FdW)

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