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Wren Cove's 'Trees' is a mysterious blend of cello, electronics, and grooves 

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Wren Cove is the unexpected collaboration of multi-instrumentalist Andrew Cloninger, formerly of the Daniel Bennett Group, and cellist Melissa Davies of the band Cottage Street. What’s more unexpected is that “Trees,” Wren Cove’s five-song EP released by Basement Factory Music on Aug. 1, was improvised.

Most of the spontaneous compositions on “Trees” are lush vignettes, and all of the tunes clock in under four minutes. On “Wheeler,” the EP opens with cello chords, which soon gives way to electronic static, synth, and guitar, before the cello suddenly enters again, alone. A lethargic, but catchy drum groove wafts in and out. A genre is impossible to pin down.

Davies’s cello tone is tender, and Cloninger is attentive in matching the intensity of his guitar playing accordingly. This results in a kind of dirge in the case of “Douglas.”

But acoustic instruments don’t get all the love on “Trees.” Ambient electronics and a delicious drum groove lay the groundwork for the cinematic sweep of the cello on “Short Leaf.” Abstract vocals by Cloninger wend their way through a hypnotic synth loop and thunderous drums on “Georgia,” the closing track.

Throughout the album, drummer Nick Cerbone and electronics-synth player Eric Andersen, both of Cottage Street, bolster Cloninger and Davies’s sound and add mystery to a music that seems to be from everywhere and nowhere all at once.

It will be fascinating to see where Wren Cove goes from here. Regardless of whether the group moves toward more structured compositions or continue to create music in the moment, the band’s intuition and ear for compelling sound combinations make it one of Rochester’s most exciting sonic surprises.

To hear the music, go to Andrew Cloninger's Soundcloud page.

Daniel J. Kushner is CITY’s arts editor. He can be reached at
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