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Standout Track: When it comes to nailing the nature vibe, “Five Minutes at the Rainforest Cafe” puts the Windham Hill catalog to shame. Tinkling omnichord arpeggios and gently evolving Casio keyboard drones conjure thoughts of a pristine earthly paradise. “Spread your feathers/Dry off the water,” sings keyboard player and percussionist Wilson Kemp.
Musical Motivation: “These songs were mostly just dorm jams,” says Kemp, who recently returned to Arlington after attending Hampshire College in Massachusetts. “I took a circuit-bending class, built a homemade delay pedal, [tried some] lo-fi sampling. There were a lot of different influences outside of D.C.” But the true inspiration is a little more big-picture. “The album is going to be called Slow Growth. I was thinking about different kinds of evolution, different kinds of growth—the slowest possible growth,” says Kemp, who is also a visual artist. “That’s how it is with most of my art—creating new features, thinking way far in the past to the farthest ends of the spectrum of time.”
Double Banded: In a way, the free-flowing jams that Kemp writes in Macaw are a break from the rigorous compositions of his other band, the prog-psych group Hume. “It’s great to lose the structure, to not have to memorize anything,” says Kemp. “This is sort of free form of expression, where Hume takes months and months of practice.” Still, it’s clear where his musical priorities lay. “[The record] should be released some time 2010; it’s stuff I’ve been playing for four years. But live, it could only go so far,” says Kemp. “It’s good to come back and wrap up the last four years of playing with these toys. Now I can find happiness with Hume.”