"Remarkable … inventive … virtuosic….Clearly, Assembly is a force to be reckoned with."
Assembly has a distinctive, driving sound that has drawn praise from such disparate sources as Irish fiddler Martin Hayes, The Village Voice, Los-Angeles Punk Zine Flipside and nationally known folk magazine SingOut!, and has caught the attention of The Boston Globe and NPR’s All Things Considered. Since their formation in 1995, under the name Popcorn Behavior, the group has toured up and down the Northeastern US and across the country, developing a loyal following along the way.
Originally named Popcorn Behavior, the band released their self-titled debut in 1993. Thomas and Sam were 13 years old, Stefan was 10. Popcorn Behavior subsequently released two more albums: Journeywork (1996) marked the first collaboration with Keith Murphy; in 1999 the band recorded as a full quartet, releasing Strangest Dream to rave reviews. In January 2002 the band changed their name forever to the less silly sounding Assembly.
With the release of their new recording, January EP, Assembly has broken into the newly emerging genre of avant-folk. On their first three albums, the band stretched the folk framework of their music with eclectic inclusions from jazz, world, and rock. Now, in a change of direction, they are playing in a style that is, on the surface, still connected to its New England folk roots, but is more fundamentally radical. Rather than embellishing the music with inclusions, they are changing the framework itself, restructuring the music by streamlining the aesthetic. The new music is aggresively minimalist, uncompromisingly simple, avoiding all distractions and extraneous notes. There is a primary focus on rhythm, unceasing, inexorable, but always loose, and a secondary focus on a suspended, blurred, and ambiguous harmonic world.
Piano, mandolin, fiddle, and drum, all occupying a fairly small range, sometimes hard to distinguish from each other, create a densely packed, overlapping texture, a wall of sound. The result is mesmerizing, trance-like music, combining dance-oriented rhythmic drive and meditative serenity.
"To me, Assembly’s music equals: energy, feeling, innovation, depth, fun and life-great tunes, skillfully arranged and played with fire!"