LA-based Norwegian artist, composer. Signed to Virgin Records at 16, his debut Faces Down was one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s Best Albums of 2002, while also winning a Norwegian Grammy. Follow-up Two Way Monologue was a 2004 Album Of The Year in Uncut Magazine, and Lerche toured extensively across the world both solo, with his band, and with the likes of Air, Stereolab, Elvis Costello, Milton Nascimento. In 2006 he scored a surprising Billboard Top 5 Jazz album, Duper Sessions, recorded the rambunctious Phantom Punch, as well as scoring the Steve Carell/Juliette Binoche hit movie Dan In Real Life (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack). Said the LA Times about 2009’s lush Heartbeat Radio: “No matter what genre he’s working in (…) his refrains always pay off”. Lerche co-wrote Dear Laughing Doubters for the 2010 comedy Dinner For Schmucks. In 2011 he made his second appearance on David Letterman’s Late Show, performing from the stripped down, self-released Sondre Lerche, while in 2012 he had the honor of appearing on an official postage stamp in Norway. The 2014 release of his score for Sundance indie-hit movie The Sleepwalker was followed by Please, which Popmatters called “a pop masterpiece”, naming it one of the best albums of the year. 2017’s groovy, flamboyant Pleasure was a “thrilling sonic reboot”, according to Allmusic, followed by an extensive 100-date world tour, and Solo Pleasure. 2020 saw the release of Patience, a bold, career-defining collection of songs.
For musicians Kristin Slipp and Cole Kamen-Green, mmeadows is a means of survival, an outlet to anchor themselves from the currents of life. Fluid and rhythmic, organic and electronic, their singular alt-pop songcraft is the synthesis of complementary talents, mutual trust, and years of partnership. Each brings a distinct background to the sound: Slipp is a current member of Dirty Projectors, with writing and performance credits on their 2020 release 5 EPs. She grew up in Maine, devoting herself to the choir and a true New England-kind of work ethic which has since flourished in New York City’s music community. Kamen-Green has worked with Beyonce, writing and performing horns on Beyonce and Four, as well as projects with Diana Ross, Harry Styles, Laurie Anderson, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Taylor Swift. He came up as a ‘90s kid in lower Manhattan, immersed in the cultures of hip-hop, dance music, and jazz (his uncle is the avant-garde drummer Joey Baron). All the varying hues of their influences now filter into Light Moves Around You, the duo’s full-length debut, a dynamic and deeply-honed collection of pop songs that silence chaos and celebrate the tender acts of making space and taking care.
Several signatures constitute a mmeadows arrangement: Slipp’s elastic voice, an instrument innately expressive and commanding, and the duo’s intuitive, collaborative production style — skittering drum patterns, intricate sound design, and mood-setting synth suites. Kamen-Green’s mainstay is the EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument), which allows brass players to control synthesizers like they would a wind instrument, a subtle breath that gives the group its symphonic flair.
Following the first mmeadows EP pieced together in 2020, their approach to Light Moves Around You was more intentional; they adopted a tighter workflow, recording in a friend’s unfinished farmhouse in upstate New York. As contemporary chaos spiraled around them, the pair found purpose, nexus, and peace in making these songs, a cohesive body of work that unfurls and grooves from the same time and space.
“By Design” presents an observant, elemental tone; interlocked to the hornbacked beat, Slipp sings of shorelines, greenways, and the secrets that nature holds, a device to embody her longing for human touch in this age of automation. “You Should Know By Now” flips the script more bluntly, with the author lobbing lines to an unrequited crush. The title track, an ode to beauty on the brink of disaster, finds Slipp at her most meditative, processing the trauma of 2020 and searching for positive signals in the storm.
Throughout Light Moves Around You, mmeadows play with pacing. Dance-pop lullaby “Baby-by” mirrors the cycle of insomnia; eyelids hang heavy for the verses before bursting open at the propulsive chorus. The clear-eyed balladry of “Working On Me” and “Friendship” gives way to the movement-minded “Testify” and “Fall Asleep.” The latter has all the hallmarks of mmeadows in one: the quiet-loud kinetics, the silky phrasings, and the smoldering hooks, closing on a coda that doubles as the record’s anchoring aspiration: “When you wake all your worries will melt away, fade away.”