The Furniture share the video for their new single “The Sloth.” Improvisation isn’t all about the moment itself. For Michael Kuhl and Matthew Pierce, their new project The Furniture celebrates free form spontaneity, yet arrives from a deep-routed understanding of one another. The Furniture is the pair’s debut album, being released through Cigarettes After Sex’s refreshed label Spanish Prayers and is a meditative trip through amorphous drones, rolling drums and haunting atmospheres. Although it came together in just one two-hour session, the genesis has a greater history, having played in various touring bands both in Baltimore and abroad.
The Furniture is their first album as a duo and the chance for them to distill their respective playing styles away from their other projects. The record has been taken entirely from a single live performance recorded in the Reverb club in Baltimore. Frequent collaborator producer Steve Wright brought a mobile studio and some mics down to the small live room and its even smaller stage. From there he let the pair subconsciously weave years of mutual understanding into the free form eight tracks that make up the album.
“Making a record free form can be a little risky. It’s not guaranteed that the creative forces that are summoned will show up” say the duo. “But when they do it can be one of the most fulfilling aspects of recording, in the way that each time you go back and listen it can take you to a place or an emotion yet to be discovered.” The result is an exploration of gradually shapeshifting constructions. The pair point to 1970’s German experimental music such as Cluster, and the pioneering minimalist composer Moondog as touchstones; those kosmiche influences do show themselves on The Furniture – be it during Kontrail’s synthesized ebb and flow, or Set to Quiver’s shuffling drums that gradually bring themselves to the forefront, amidst a myriad of other percussive shakers and flutters.
When those reference points are visible, though, they’re often contorted or submerged amidst other more esoteric influences: there’s a deeply European dark psychedelia on “The Sloth,” while Kuhl’s playing pulls in everything from Klaus Dinger to traditional Ghanian rhythmic structures. “Really it was about surrendering to the moment” the pair say. “We came into this album with open minds. We relied on our history of working together to create spontaneous compositions.” That these compositions manage to hold such a strong overall identity while traversing so much sonic ground is testament to the pair’s combined sense of creative adventure and trust in one another.