Whilst The Saxophones began as the solo project of Alexi Erenkov - a project that was loosely started over a decade ago but gained full momentum and dedication in recent years - he wanted to bring in some primitive drum and percussion playing and couldn't think of anyone more suited than his wife Alison Alderdice. The songs on their debut, Songs of the Saxophones, were formed and written during a period in which the pair were living on a boat during a very wet winter in the San Francisco Bay Area and then recorded in Portland, OR.
Songs of The Saxophones understands the need for space, creating breathing room for the songs to swell and float. "I wanted the record to be very consistent," Erenkov says. "I did not want the woodwinds to be bloated, and I am very particular about not overdoing it when it comes to synths and extra bells and whistles. I love layered and complex music but I get overwhelmed when I have too many options, so I keep things very simple. I really just wanted to make a record that felt like a reflection of my current self."
Erenkov has truly succeeded in this. Taking inspiration from '50s exotica and Hawaiian albums (Edhen Abhez, Buddy Fo, and Martin Denny), '70s outsider Italian songwriter Vittorio Impiglia, and a host of third-stream and West coast jazz records, the result is a unique offering. The enticing yet fragile vocals at the heart of the record give it its overall tone as it weaves between dream pop, minimalist surf and deeply textural compositions. Many of the songs address existential suffering and the traumas inflicted by partners in relationships, so a melancholic tone runs through the record, but overall it's a record of hope and positivity.