Earlier this fall, Michael joined musician Jonathan Brandt at his studio near Kalamazoo, MI to record for a collaborative project. The album, titled Carbon, was released on September 30th and debuted through a simulisten on NowPlaying radio on October 6th.
If you're used to hearing Michael's classic accordion sound in tangos, French musette, and Italian tunes, get ready for something new! Jonathan's talent lies in experimental electronic and ambient music, and his vision took a familiar accordion sound and, together with Jonathan's signature sound, warped it into something entirely different -- and awesome.
On Carbon, a first collaboration between the two artists, a particular delight is the sound of waves crashing in on a quiet shore, or perhaps a slow, distant wind on track 6, titled "Number 6." But wait! That's not water or just any wind...it's the sound of the air in the accordion's bellows, which Jonathan recorded and dramatically slowed down. When combined with a softly droning synth keyboard, the result is a soothing, mysterious track you can get lost in. In its entirety, the album is an adventure, at times charged with urgency, at times a light lullaby. It might be hard to recognize Michael's accordion in the mix at times, but it's there.
Since Michael has a history that includes playing in an accordion ensemble, playing in Grand Rapids band The Wealthy Orphans, and gigging on his own, this was a new experience for him. "This project opened my perception of how my accordion can work with other instruments and styles of music. It takes me out of my element." And this probably won't be the last collaboration of this kind.