Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Intersection: Little Red Suitcase

Little Red Suitcase
(duo; 2004)
Johanna Borchert (piano,     vocals)
Elena Setien (vocals, violin)

With the abstract, quirky beauty of Robyn Hitchcock mixed with the delicate romanticism of Blossom Dearie, Jane Siberry and Kate Bush and a last dash of early Kronos Quartet, Denmark's, Little Red Suitcase is a blast of refreshing cool air in 2010. Hard to categorize, Little Red Suitcase span the spectrum of jazz, alternative and avant garde. Utilizing unfamiliar song structures and vocal dynamics, the duo layer their music with delicate touches of both improvisation and straight forward emotion--all resulting in an amazingly interesting and different listening experience.

Those of you not familiar with Kate Bush might also reference Tori Amos (I am no Tori Amos fan but the comparisons might help). Little Red Suitcase's use of improvisation definitely stems from their work in jazz and classical circles of Denmark.

They have recorded two albums, the most recent, Temporarily Out Of Order (Suitcase Records) is a fine blend of minimalism abstract poetry and sad demented love song. "Sailor's Song" is a beautiful tribute of one waiting for their lost love to return played with delightful genre bending brilliance. "Today I Woke Up" and "Rainy Holidays" are both examples of Little Red Suitcase's quirky, whimsical lyricism and perfect pitch musicianship. Both Borchert and Setien were classically trained and it is shows throughout Temporarily Out Of Order. Little Red Suitcase delivers (I think) some sleek feminist quirkiness on the puzzling, funny, yet very inventive "Before It's Gone" which demands that woman follow their dream.

Temporarily Out Of Order follows builds upwards and out from the duo's debut, They'll Learn Much More Than We'll Never Know, which is also worth seeking out. Little Red Suitcase may not be for everyone but they deliver something that at least more lyrically and vocally eclectic than most of what's out now for music fans. The video below is a little rough and raw (all I could find) so you might want to check out there myspace page to listen to more. Little Red Suitcase is well worth discovering.  If you are in the U.S. (at least on the east coast) you might want to check them live. I think seeing them will be even more convincing.

1 comment:

  1. Here are the US and Canada dates for their shows:
    17. June, The Hamiltonian Gallery,Washington
    18. june,Rochester Jazz Festival, USA
    19 June, Cornelia Street Cafe NYC, USA (Med Ryan Blotnick Quartet)
    24 june Ottawa Jazz Festival , Canada