A few years ago Bay Area violinist Carla Kihlstedt
, who already had extensive experience improvising with the likes of guitarist Fred Frith and pianist Satoko Fujii, moved east to teach improvisation at the New England Conservatory of Music. But improvisation is just one element of Kihlstedt’s art, which erases the lines between rock, noise, contemporary classical, and jazz to create a holistic mind-set that bends to the demands of its context. In early 2012 Kihlstedt and her drum-playing husband, Matthias Bossi (also her bandmate in Book of Knots and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum), launched Rabbit Rabbit Radio
, an online subscription service offering their joint audiovisual creations; on August 6 their own Rabbit Rabbit Radio label will release Rabbit Rabbit Radio Volume 1
, whose art-rock songs move fluidly through all the nonrock approaches in which Kihlstedt and Bossi traffic. Friends such as Frith, harpist Zeena Parkins, bassist Shahzad Ismaily, and bassoonist Rebekah Heller added instrumental parts here and there, but the couple played and sang most everything: Bossi croons and tickles the keys on the piano-driven “Ballad for No One,” which sounds like an outtake from David Bowie’s Hunky Dory
, and Kihlstedt sings with breathy delicacy on “After the Storm,” which is almost chamber music. —Peter Margasak Mako Sica opens.