The Three Things You Can Hear
Born in England, son of an Essex folk singer, Seamus Cater was surrounded by English revivalist folk music from day one. He eventually moved to Amsterdam in 2000, where he has been working on different kinds of music; acoustic, electronic, composed, and improvised. Cater organizes two Amsterdam concert series, DNK Amsterdam and Pest House, and is the founder of Nearly Not There Records, a small stock, non-profit record shop in Amsterdam specializing in new music in many forms, mostly avant-garde and experimental. The Three Things You Can Hear follows Cater's 2010 collaboration with NYC banjoist Woody Sullender (When We Get to Meeting) and his 2012 collaboration with Finnish multi-instrumentalist Viljam Nybacka (The Anecdotes). Recorded in Amsterdam and Berlin, The Three Things You Can Hear is a solo album consisting of a group of songs developed over a period of about three years. They were written and performed using a duet concertina made in 1941 (serial number Crabb 9807), which Cater found in a junk shop in Amsterdam. Given Cater's folk music background, and the fact that his father also played a concertina, it was a fortuitous event to find an instrument such as this, a black leather squeeze-box made in London. The slow repair and learning of this instrument led to a close relationship and unconventional playing style. By no means a concertina virtuouso, Seamus set out to find simpler, more primitive techniques of playing, and as the songs became ready, he invited some Berlin musicians to accompany him on different songs. The album includes contributions from Kai Fagaschinski and Michael Thieke (The International Nothing), Koen Nutters and Morten J. Olsen (from The Pitch), and Johnny Chang (of Konzert Minimal). When asked about the influences that informed the making of the album, Cater mentions Scottish folk singer Ivor Cutler and English folk singer Peter Bellamy, as well as music from other cultures, chiefly African, Arabic, South American, Indonesian. . . . His distinctive phrasing recalls at times the fragile music of Robert Wyatt's solo releases, and at others the elaborate folk constructions of Peter Blegvad and John Greaves, particularly their surreal 1977 concept album from Kew. Rhone. Seamus Cater: voice and duet concertina. With: Koen Nutters: double bass; Morten J. Olsen: bass drum and vibraphone; Michael Thieke: clarinet; Kai Fagaschinski: clarinet; Johnny Chang: viola; Han Jacobs: saw. Recorded by Seamus Cater, mixed by Clare Gallagher, and mastered by Jeff Carey.