Body Parts' Grand Visions
Photo by Brian Pritchard
Ryder Bach and Alina Cutrono are Body Parts, who've just released their debut album Fire Dream on Father/Daughter Records, and have a Monday night residency at The Satellite this month. You can see them tonight.
The pair, who live in Chinatown but are not dating, make music obsessed with what Bach calls "grand stories of epic proportions." Like, for example, the outerspace ghosts of Scientology tome Dianetics. Or the bizarro world Prince created in Purple Rain. Anything, really, that comes from a very committed, singular vision. "The type of music where you listen to it," Bach says, "and you think, this person really got lost in something inside of themselves while they were making it."
Or Kate Bush.
"You listen to her music," Bach says, "and it's like, I don't know what the fuck she was thinking, but she was definitely thinking something."
This commitment to commitment runs throughout their music, their performance, and their videos. You can see them doing semi-yogic dance moves on a gigantic sand dune like a completely serious version of Men At Work's "Down Under" video.
Or sitting perfectly still and singing to each other in a silly, art-school-y tableau. Their live show, meanwhile, is said to be famous for its choreography.
"We don't work with dancers," says bandmate Alina Cutrono. "We do all the dancing ourselves."
In fact, Cutrono gave up a career as a ballerina to pursue music, and still has a dancer's lithe poise. They met years ago, they can't quite remember how many, and began recording together, first in Bach's grandmother's basement. Bach likes writing for Cutrono's voice, which is high and clear. Cutrono has been writing and performing since she was six years old.
There's one other thing they do for each other. "Alina is really good at, when I have an idea, she has a nice way of tempering my, like, ideas with like her own . . . her own . . . what's the word?" says Bach.
"Ryder has a lot of ideas," interjects Cutrono, "and they're kind of all over the place, and I'll help to ground them, organize them, and give them some focus. I think that's what you mean, right Ryder?"
The product of that organization, Fire Dream, is very New Romantic/Tears For Fears/Haim -- all high harmonies, smooth synth cords and very artificial-sounding artificial drums. If you have a soft spot for anything from the very early '80s -- Big Country, Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran and a whole host of other post-Roxy Music British dandies -- it's hard not to be moved by their work.
The only thing is, well, it can veer a bit close to being over-the-top. Is that something they worry about?
"No," says Cutrono.
"Yes," says Bach.
Cutrono laughs. "Ryder worries about it. As artists, we try to err on the side of going for it, rather than being embarrassed or being worried that it's going to be silly. That's the kind of stuff that we think is great -- the stuff that really goes for it."
Body Parts plays every Monday night in November at The Satellite
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