Clogs are a mostly instrumental project led by Bryce Dessner and Australia's Padma Newsome, both of whom are members of the rock band The National. But don't call Clogs a side project. Their existence predates The National, and Clogs have released five widely acclaimed albums -- a highly melodic debut Thom's Night Out (Brassland 2001), then the experimental polyphonies of Lullaby For Sue (Brassland 2003), the minimalist explorations of Stick Music (Brassland 2004)...
When Clogs formed they were an oddball classical ensemble in indie rock clothing. Today, however, they're at the forefront of a scene including friends in groups The Books, Rachel's, and Bell Orchestre.
Clogs are Newsome (viola/violin/melocica/voice/piano), Bryce Dessner (guitar/ukelele), Rachael Elliott (bassoon/melodica), and Thomas Kozumplik (percussion). They met in the late-90s while studying at the Yale School of Music. Newsome started his career as a concert violinist in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, before a six-year detour took him to an ashram in the remote region of New South Wales. He began composing in the '90s at the University of Adelaide, when he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship that brought him to America. Dessner is an established soloist, and veteran of groups including Bang on a Can All-Stars, which has given him in contact with major figures like Philip Glass and Terry Riley. Elliott is a proud Vermonter and active freelance musician. Kozumplik is a master percussionist familiar with most any style.
Clogs' "classical" music is the result of a peculiar writing process more akin to a rock band or a jazz quartet. The members come to rehearsals with basic ideas that the group riffs on and develops in jam sessions and live performance. Newsome later arranges these ideas into elegant and complex musical narratives that meld and extend the ideas of minimalist, modernist, and romantic composers, adding sounds and melodies drawn from the folk music of India, the Jewish Diaspora, and everywhere else.
RIYL: Brian Eno, Sigur Ros, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Aphex Twin, Erik Satie, Renaissance Music, Moondog
Clogs homepage: http://www.clogsmusic.com/
Brassland homepage: http://brassland.org/