London keyboard wizard Bill Laurance and Californian multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire Michael League are best known for their roles in Snarky Puppy, the Grammy-winning, US-based band they co-founded. Now though, the pair have joined forces outside of the long-running group for an album collaboration called Where You Wish You Were. Released by the ACT label, the album is a duo project that allows both musicians to create a series of conversational musical interactions.
What makes the album different from Snarky Puppy recordings is that League, the band’s bass-playing anchorman, has a freer role, and focuses on exotic stringed instruments like the North African oud, a West African lute (called a ngoni) and a couple of bespoke guitars, including a fretless acoustic bass. Laurance also deviates from his usual MO, relinquishing his array of electronic keyboards for a lone acoustic piano. What results is an unusually textured series of intimate filmic pieces that free the imagination.
The album shows as League puts it, that “we are so much more than the roles we play in the most popular band that we’re a part of,” while Bill Laurance, reflecting on the record says: “It was only a matter of time before we’d make a record by ourselves. We’ve been close friends for 20 years now and we’ve worked together in so many different capacities – with Snarky Puppy, my own band, and in collaboration with other artists so it just felt like it was a natural thing to do.”