Janel Leppin • Anthony Pirog

Both musicians, together and separately, have long been an important and active part of Washington D.C.’s new-music scene. Anthony Pirog, an omnivorous, multi-faceted guitarist who studied jazz at Berklee and has performed country, fingerstyle, rock and surf music and Janel Leppin, a conservatory trained cellist steeped in North Indian and Persian classical music, who also plays electric bass in rock bands, have created a lavishly detailed musical journey, by turns ravishing and harrowing. Janel and Anthony alternately charm and challenge, with music that draws from classical, experimental, jazz, rock and electronic traditions but that ultimately is simply theirs.


RUNE 527/528

Hugely influential and appearing nearly everywhere within Washington D.C.'s contemporary music scene as bandleaders and contributing artistic voices, cellist and vocalist Janel Leppin and guitarist Anthony Pirog have long been creative partners as well as life partners.

Their Cuneiform Records debut Where is Home (2012) is considered a crucial modern recording from the region. Following that release, the two have crafted a double-LP opus which crosses genres and mirrors their exploratory and dialogic working methods. New Moon in the Evil Age is their long-awaited follow up to Where is Home and will have immediate appeal to fans of beyond jazz, modern composition and improvisation, indie rock, and of D.C musical culture.

Janel and Anthony make it clear in conversation that New Moon in the Evil Age is a harbinger of things to come as well as the distillation of a twenty year journey of life and work. This recording is only their third as a duo and this fact is somewhat surprising given the fact that they often pair up on each other’s various recorded and live projects. They have both been exceptionally active over the past decade since the release of Where Is Home, but even so, as Pirog notes, “Janel & Anthony has always been a priority for us. We’ve been chipping away at this new record whenever we could, despite life intervening! We're looking forward to having the opportunity now to prioritize our duo music, because we’ve done so much in between our records in terms of performances and planning.”

The 19 tracks of New Moon In The Evil Age, like the years it took to record it, flash by rather quickly, which is a testament to their vision and working process. Though organizing an opus takes time, a number of the pieces were written in short order, as the duo has a language and methodology so finely tuned that compositions can materialize with little provocation. Pirog observes, “We don’t even have to speak; we’re bringing certain ideas we’ve developed over twenty years of working and being together, which makes it so easy, because, really, we just sit down and music comes out.” 

The album has a pretty clear division point, given that the first ten tracks are instrumental while the remaining nine are vocal and electronics-heavy. Rather than interpolating and ping-ponging sensibilities from song to song, the arc from soaring string interplay to synth-driven layered avant-pop is clear. Leppin remarks that, “This album is organic to us. We’ve never wanted to align to any particular genre and we try and avoid limitations in our music."

Another factor in their unity of thought and of their sound heard here is emphasized through their long working relationship with The Brink recording studio and its engineer Mike Reina, of which Leppin observes, “The Brink is a huge part of Janel and Anthony records. We think of The Brink as a musical home and a place of freedom. We like to explore sonic textures in the studio and Mike will go to the ends of the earth for tone. We had fun making it, but it’s also an intimate record for us.”

New Moon In The Evil Age press release

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RUNE 338

"The result is a marvelous surprise at every turn, as the duo...two absolute virtuosos...create atmospheres that at times evoke the music of Steve Tibbetts, Brian Eno, even soundtrack music" – DownBeat

"Janel & Anthony - guitars and 'cello respectively - play a haunting and humbly virtuosic form of music wherein the elements of electronics, looping, and lo-fi timbres live both in intimacy and in majesty in the same house as acoustic instruments and folk/blues-inspired melodies. As such, it is both timely and timeless, drenched as it is in intoxicating atmosphere; wan, quiet voices submitting to waves of sonic drama. Who could possibly resist it?" – Nels Cline

"Where Is Home is one of the most stunning records this year and will surely be a much spoken about record for some time. Where Is Home is a mind blowing record that will stay in my listening rotation for years." – Sound Colour Vibration

"If your soul is downright weary from the burdens of everyday life,cellist Janel Leppin and guitarist Anthony Pirog present an ideal antidote with their intimate, intuitive music. In both bucolic acoustic numbers and immersive dronescapes, the duo offers transport from mundane matters of the world."-– Time Out New York

"Janel and Anthony are an important step in the evolution of music. They both exist on so many levels, each piece is like a hundred doors opening up!" – Jimmy Chamberlin (Smashing Pumpkins)

Self-recording and releasing their 1st album in 2006 and selling thousands of copies at their hundreds of shows, they spent over 3 years conceiving and recording Where Is Home in a professional, analog studio, giving the album a thoughtful, comfortable and lived in feel. Alternating compositions with brief improvisations and soundscapes, Where Is Home captures the dynamic ebb and flow of their live shows where they artfully employ live looping, an array of effects and prepared backing. Simple musical lines grow into complex blocks of echoing sound which eventually are spun and turned into elegiac melodies. The music is both experimental and elegant and smokily psychedelic in a completely modern way.

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For press and media: cover art and high resolution images are available below for download (click thumbnail, right-click image and select "Save As.."). Please credit the photographer (when available) and "Courtesy of Cuneiform Records". For more information, click here.

New Moon In The Evil Age
Where Is Home

New Moon In The Evil Age press release
Where is Home press release

6/27/2013: Cutting Edge Music & Architecture On The Edge Of Downtown Silver Spring, MD: Janel and Anthony @ BioWall Plaza
3/29/2013: Janel & Anthony: performance + live broadcast at The Kennedy Center
1/21/2013: Happy 2013! MLK Day + 2012's Best + 2013's Tours
3/31/2014: Janel and Anthony Tour Europe Summer 2014

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Cuneiform Records 2014

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