For this Release I felt that I would let some critics describe the music. We were also very pleased when Track 9, 'Liquid Time' Won a Finalist award in the Electronic Category of the John Lennon Song Writing Contest in 2002. ----- May 2001 Keyboard Magazine written by Jim Aikin As Sarah-Jane's supple voice soars above a thick bed of synths and samples I keep hearing echoes of Kate Bush and Sneaker Pimps. The electronic orchestration is expansively impressionistic, and a couple of tunes dissolve entirely into motionless washes of dark postmodern strings. Once in a while, Stitch cranks up a beat or a wall of guitars, but the jazzy trip-hop of 'Smoove' with it's lazy piano solo, and the spacey musings of 'Dandelion Heart' are both fresher and closer to the core of their vision. ------ December 2000 St. Paul Pioneer Press excerpt Daily Newspaper written by Jim Walsh Into this brave new world, this marvelous mess, comes the local band Pleasant Stitch. The four-piece (singer/sample player Sarah Jane Hill, bassist/synthesizer player Carty Fox, drummer Will Pierce, keyboardist Bob DeMaa) can loosely be described as an electronica out-fit, but don't hold them to it. DeMaa learned his recording chops working at 'Funkytown' studios and played in the local band Overblue with Fox, who worked at the Twin/Tone Records Group. The two hooked up with Pierce, who had also done time in various local bands, and started recording. They put an ad in City Pages, looking for a singer, and found Hill, a Portland native who had just moved to Minneapolis from Los Angeles, where she worked as an actress and jazz singer. The final lineup came together in February 1998, but... All told, the foursome spent two years making 'Pleasant Stitch,' and it shows. It is multi-layered work with a lot of craft at the core. Nothing is tossed off; it is a purposeful project from start to finish, and it rewards listeners with something new every time out. It is a record of sounds, not necessarily songs, but the sounds make themselves into songs. Hill sounds like a jazz singer, but a jazz singer for these times. There is a classicism about her, but also something thoroughly modern. Her voice and haiku dip and rise with the music and serve as instruments, adding to the lush, exquisite soundscapes. 'The thing that I liked about it, and still like is that everything really matters,' says Hill, sit-ting with her bandmates in a coffee shop near the band's Minneapolis rehearsal space. 'Every-thing is really well thought out. There's a reason, and everyone knows the reason, and I could tell that right away. When they gave me their demo, it was huge. I had to do something to it, but I had to have a reason for doing it. I had to figure out what their reason was and put words and melody to whatever their reason was. It's not at all thrown together.' The Twin Cities have produced a number of memorable electronic outfits, from Psykosonik to Red Red Groovy to Brother Sun Sister Moon, and the current guard of the Busy Signals, Astronaut Wife and Triangle, not to mention the thriving DJ scene led by DJ ESP Woody McBride. It is a blast of the nearly indescribable, where elitist factions war about terms such as house, techno, drum 'n' bass and ambient, all of which has been kept underground by a local music scene that has been built on rock. That underground status is per-haps best exemplified by the fact that Pleasant Stitch - who renounce any labels or genres, including electronica - has played regularly over the past two years, including shows at First Avenue's Mainroom, the 7th St. Entry, the Weisman Art Museum and several of the Future Perfect music festivals. Still, their profile remains low. And not by their choice. 'It's so strange, because every time we play a show, there's people who say, 'Have you been around?,' ' says Hill with great exasperation. 'I'm like, 'God, I feel like my throat is sore.'' That may change with the release of 'Pleasant Stitch,' which, like all the best music, creates a spiritual pact with the listener and seeks to make the listener an equal partner in the music's interpretation. For example, track three, 'Wash,' begins with the sound of a buzzing guitar chord being plugged, and unplugged, into an amp. It is an irresistible morsel of ear candy, poetic in it's simplicity and unto itself nothing special. But heard amid the context of modern music, it could be a com-mentary on electronic artists' his-toric ghettoization by rockers and the oft-made assertion by electron-ic artists that rock 'n' roll was the first electronic music, since elec-tric guitars are, well, electronic instruments. That dynamic was poignantly illustrated in the band's spartan rehearsal space the other night. As Hill, Fox, Pierce and DeMaa set up their gear, bursting through the walls was the roar of two or three speed-metal bands in full practice flush, doing their homework on Dio or Metallica or whoever. But in a matter of moments, the sounds fashioned by Pleasant Stitch made those guys sound like the Glenn Miller Orchestra fend-ing off rock 'n' roll or a broken record in the age of skipping CDs. ------ December 6th, 2000 Pulse of The Twin Cities Weekly Alternative Newspaper written by Zack Norton 'Don't kill the mood': A mantra of sorts for the Twin Cities' best kept electronic secret, Pleasant Stitch. PS is a legitimate band with feet in both the electronic and temporal worlds. It is important to note that PS create all the textures and layers of their music live. According to bass/synth player Carty Fox, there is no ' 'man behind the curtain'...no click track, no dat tape, no CD in the background.' 'We actually do play everything live,' explains synth/sampler Bob DeMaa. 'It's like a trapeze without a net,' adds Fox. 'The layers are built in ways that if we need to do something different live, we can do that,' finishes electronic drums/synth player Will Pierce. Pleasant Stitch, rounded off by Sarah-Jane on vocals, is certainly not your average 'booty shaking' electronica. The music they create comes close to what Pink Floyd dabbled in for Dark Side of the Moon. The manipulation of brain waves through sound. Everyone's heard of brainwaves, right? Then we all know that certain sounds trigger specific brain-wave activity. Think dreamy, cool, meditative. Think a sonic wash of gentle rhythm and more vocal styles than you thought possible coming from a single mouth. Pleasant Stitch's strength lies in the way they work outside traditional models of electronic and modern music. They're just as comfortable playing with aggressive distortion as they are playing at a whisper. The band has been working on their newly released, self-titled album for over two years, and the attention to detail and craft shows. But the band feels they really come into groove when they perform live by making things more dynamic and playing with differ-ent elements of their music. 'Suddenly we play our live set and it's almost involuntary... we're not so tied to our (musical) tools,' says Sarah-Jane. ------ Mar 2001 Star Tribune Daily Newspaper written by Simon Peter Groebner 'Pleasant Stitch' (R-81) Female-fronted experimental pop bands were abundant in the Twin Cities in the '90s, but the wave has subsided, leaving Pleasant Stitch as the genre's leading local envelope pushers. Stitchers Bob De Maa, Carty Fox and Will Pierce have broad experience in sound engineering and electronic music, and their high-tech, high-art approach to studio-craft is palpable on this debut CD. 'Pleasant Stitch' floats along on oceanic layers of guitar textures, slinky techno rhythms, gorgeous electronic string sections and a subtle jazzy undertow. But the curious centerpiece is singer Sara-Jane Hill. She airily coos opaque lyrics, growls like a jazz diva, exalts like the second coming of Bjork and soars to operatic heights -- often all within the same verse. An unintended result is that you never really identify with the singer -- or, by extension, the band. Listening to 'Pleasant Stitch' is like having a detached summer romance. It's beautiful, forceful music that constantly seduces but never quite achieves intimacy. ----.
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