By Jena Ardell
By Brian McManus
By Chaz Kangas
By Sound of the City
By Peter Gerstenzang
By Katherine Turman
By Chris Kornelis
By Brian McManus
The Brooklyn band Telepathe forge largely improvised guitar gusts, woodsy chirps, wraithlike Björkian harmonies, and powerfully jabbed drums into minimalist baroque. Formed in 2004, the "process-oriented" crew, pronounced "telepathy," regularly shifts lineups. Its core, though, consists of multi-instrumentalists Busy Gangnes and Melissa Livaudais. "The name came out of this conversation we had about a woman who's a pet communicator," Gangnes explains. "She listens to a dog or a cat and can supposedly understand what they're saying. It's a therapy. Playing music with people, especially when you improvise, is also its own communication." Adds Livaudais: "Many women in my family, on my mother's side, have telepathy. They're receivers. I have the same ability, though it's not completely polished. I strive to channel these feelings into my music: trances, naturally altered states of being."
Gangnes and Livaudais composed half of Wikkid, which Gangnes describes as more "proggy-punky" than the current project. "We let a lot of that go with Telepathe," she notes. "We brought more electronics into it, more sounds and space. I started playing drums more repetitively and loosely." Gangnes is a modern dancer who approaches percussion as she does that discipline. She toured recently as an honorary member of Leg & Pants Dans Theeatre, which opened for Deerhoof. "We danced on stages with little pieces of carpet, nails sticking out of the floor," she laughs. "We created our own dancefloor every night." Also a yoga instructor, Gangnes mentions Telepathe's tried combining breathing exercises with their music. She's unsure if it worked.
Telpathe's four-song debut, Farewell Forest, was recorded when the band was a trio and released last month on the Social Registry. Currently a quartet with new members Lane Lacolla and Ryan Lucero, they increase the torque on a forthcoming 12-inch, which includes a hip-hopped B side remixed by !!!'s Tyler Pope. They also recorded seven songs in January for an upcoming full-length.
A native of New Orleans, Livaudais says Hurricane Katrina was on her mind during those sessionsshe hasn't physically returned to the city. "Emotionally, I'm not ready," she says. "The house I grew up in is gone. It will never be the same magical place for me." But refining Telepathe's dizzying hymnals and improvisational clairvoyance, she and Gangnes are mapping some newer magic place. "Busy and I are a couple. We share everything in our lives, which makes us open to telepathy," she explains. "Nothing has ever felt this right."