Elfin Saddle is the evolved musical project of scavenger artists Emi Honda and Jordan McKenzie. Prompted by their need to downsize an accumulation of musical instruments and objects in their migration to Montreal from Victoria, BC, Elfin Saddle focuses on the creative use of a compact array of acoustic instruments, including prepared accordion, banjo, and guitars, musical saw, and ad-hoc percussion setups. Having collaborated for years on various visual art and sound projects, Elfin Saddle is a fresh culmination of the ideas and ideals shared by both artists.
Emi, originally from southern Japan, moved to Vancouver Island in the late 90’s and was immediately fascinated with the lush landscape and local flora. She began gardening, and building visually complex, mechanical assemblage sculptures, which she began to exhibit in local galleries. Jordan, who also living on the island and working a similar vein in art school, happened upon one of these sculptures. Recognizing the eerily similar themes in each other’s work and sharing an affinity for the natural landscape, the two quickly became friends, triggering an extended wave of collaborations.
Sound Stories, a musical project of Jordan’s at the time that incorporated homemade sound machines, prepared records, storytelling, and a revolving cast of friends, was eventually joined by Emi. The two also began playing frequently as a duo, and made several recordings that were released on Westhome, a small label run by Jordan . They also began to collaborate on unique multi-sensory art installations, comprised of old motors, timers, organs, plants, and other found junk, carefully composed to create bizarre landscapes and dream-like atmospheres and to execute ongoing loops of movement and sound. Their series of exhibitions with fellow Victoria artist, Scott Evans, recieved considerable attention.
Since arriving in Montreal in 2006, Elfin Saddle has been steadily gaining audience and acclaim for their original and emotive live performances. Having released Gigantic Mother / Wounded Child on Kill Devil Hills in early 2008, they are proud to be releasing their follow up, Ringing For The Begin Again, on Constellation Records. A recent addition to their recordings and live performances is Nathan Gage (Shapes and Sizes, owner of Phonopolis record store in Montreal), rounding out their sound with thick drones and subtle bursts on double-bass and tuba. Emi and Jordan are currently working on an extensive stop-motion/time-lapse film, featuring the growth of plants and the animation of a large collection of scavenged objects.