For the seventh installment of the Preservation Sound video series, we examine how an unplanned encounter with a highly unusual instrument can provide direction for a vibrant and idiosyncratic body of musical work. Fans of modern music are likely to be familiar with duo Mates of State, who have released nine internationally-distributed albums over the past fourteen years. Mates’ first three releases were nearly solely arranged around a traditional drum kit, the duo’s two voices, and a single other instrument: the circa 1971 Yamaha Electone YC45 Combo Organ.
I first heard Mates of State in a small Brooklyn venue circa 2002, and I was blown away by the raw, massive sound that was conjured up through such a minimal setup. As the band explains in our program, their unusual sound was not the result of any strategic planning, but rather a willingness to embrace the tool that they happened to have available. Mates’ relationship with the YC45 is an indelible example of the strength that can be found in limitations. Watch the video featuring exclusive new in-studio performances now on Youtube.