Comment

Press

"American God is Mellow Diamond's third album in just two years — always arriving in spring — written and recorded during a fraught election and its fall-out. While those references are rarely explicit, you can locate a desperate urgency here. Where past efforts pulled in an arsenal of instruments, Leppin sticks to cello and Mellotron keyboard; that instrumental intimacy swept up in arrangements that cluster around her voice, as delicate and as imposing as a sheet of falling ice.

Like the crystals featured in the video for "Ashes To Breathe," director Dan Sharnoff reflects and refracts images of Leppin and her cello in a prism to mimic the beautifully fervid track. In the burnt-out remains of humanity, Leppin looks for healing: "What once was a curse / Now is paradise / And scorched earth remains / That's what we found." - NPR Music

"This is a captivating album that if anything doesn’t hang around for long enough, being only a tad over half an hour long. This leaves me wanting more!" - Roger Trenwith (on American God)

"Leppin’s ability to transcend classical training on the cello to this new wave of eclectic, experimental music makes her music so interesting to listen to. Leppin is bringing a whole new style to the table." - Aquarian Weekly

"Captivating" - Washington Post
"Timeless" - The Huffington Post

"Gorgeous" - Electronic Musician Magazine
"Stunning. Her music is stunning." - Washington City Paper
 "Ethereal..conversational magic" - The Village Voice
 "An absolute virtuoso...exquisite.." - Downbeat Magazine
       
"Leppin is a rarity..ahhh-vant garde at its finest." - Capital Bop
 "Akin to a fairy-tale forest encased in glass." - Philadelphia City Paper

"Art Holds Her Hand, a funereal paced and sombre death march, atop which Janel’s lilting ice maiden tones lull us into the land of Morpheus with impressionistic tales of the primal forces of Nature." - Roger Trenwith

"Delicate, enjoyable and translucent as white fields of grass." - Stephen O'Malley (On Susan Alcorn and Janel Leppin's recording of Thick Tarragon (Ideolgic Organ/Editions Mego))

"Janel & Anthony - guitars and 'cello respectively - play a haunting and humbly virtuosic form of music wherein the elements of electronics, looping, and lo-fi timbres live both in intimacy and in majesty in the same house as acoustic instruments and folk/blues-inspired melodies. As such, it is both timely and timeless, drenched as it is in intoxicating atmosphere; wan, quiet voices submitting to waves of sonic drama. Who could possibly resist it?" – Nels Cline

"Janel and Anthony's Where is Home is a stunning collaboration. The duo have fashioned a beautiful and singular work."- Guitar Player Magazine

"Janel Leppin brings a haunting lyricism to the cello.  Janel was an improviser at the High Zero Festival contributing to a wide range of sonic textures.  Her honest approach to creative improvisation leaves the ears more curious with each encounter." - Hurd Audio

"..one of the most stunning records this year.. Where is Home is a mind-blowing record that will stay in my listening rotation for years." - Sound Colour Vibration

On Where is Home - "A beguiling, thoughtfully crafted album" - BBC Classical

 "If your soul is downright weary from the burdens of everyday life, cellist Janel Leppin and guitarist Anthony Pirog present an ideal antidote with their intimate, intuitive music. In both bucolic acoustic numbers and immersive dronescapes, the duo offers transport from mundane matters of the world." - Time Out New York

I would easily say that this cellist is inspirational and has the best lines and sound that I have ever heard including myself."  - David Darling

"The theme of home is continued on Broome’s Orchard, a place of pastoral calm that includes a highly effective “bowed and struck vibraphone”; then it’s away ’Cross The Williamsburg Bridge and we are on our travels again, before finally wondering Where Will We Go, a question that needs an answer but the search for an answer is anxious, as an undercurrent of very slightly unsettling dissonance is never far from the calm surface, breaking through in waves of atonal cello and background noise, before a long sigh of an ending. The question remains unresolved. The Finale is restless and does not really restore any sense of natural order to the apparent dichotomy of the previous track and we have come to the end of a journey that while illuminating is not all that it seems. A fine piece of work from the Washington duo that leaves me wanting more." - DPRP

"Apparently Cuneiform had not signed a local act in more than a decade, so the capture of Janel & Anthony must indicate a mutual faith and belief. I think the duo and the label are made for each other, and hopefully their impressionistic sound palette will now reach the wider audience it deserves." - 

 "We interviewed the immensely talented cellist Janel Leppin in advance of her appearances during the Sonic Circuits Festival and she’s rounded up some of her immensely talented friends who will be performing as the Janel Leppin Group at Galaxy Hut. No telling who those guests will be, but be prepared to be surprised and impressed." - DCist

  "Unfortunately we had an act at the last-minute drop from Friday nights line-up. We were fortunate enough to find Janel Leppin & Anthony Pirog to fill in, and they did more than just meet expectations…they blew them away! Combing, improvising and building up aspects of classical, jazz, folk, and experimental among countless others. But all of these influences aren’t watered down into something intangible, Janel & Anthony bring something fresh and exciting to instrumental music. Imagine the jazz improv collective Out Of Your Head, if all the performers were fed Godspeed You Black Emperor & John Fahey." - David Banahan

  "Shoegaze? Post rock? Chamber Pop? Forget trying to find a convenient buzzword that neatly sums up the sound of Janel and Anthony; It just ain’t gonna happen, and for good reason. This Vienna-based duo write and perform what they refer to on their site as “original experimental music for cello and guitar,” and while that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, it makes sense when you hear them and realize their music can’t be broken down into its individual reference points or easily summed up in a clever blog post (sucks for me!). The lush compositions on their self-titled first CD could work equally well as the soundtrack for a dreamy art film, or a lazy winter afternoon stuck inside, but what’s especially impressive is seeing them live, where you can marvel at how so many layers of sound can come from just a guy, a girl and a few effects pedals." - Yes or No DC

  "I couldn't tear myself away from one sculpture. A woman sat on her sphere, the clay oozing out between her toes, playing the cello and then stepping on a small pedal that played her music back in reverse. I'm not sure what was more shocking, the woman's ability to balance up there while playing an instrument, or the fact that her cello was covered in clay." - Washington Post on "Living Sculpture"
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/goingoutgurus/2008/08/its_alive.html#comments

  Sonic Circuits Festival 2009
Washington Post and DCist Coverage and Recognition
"For everyone who complains that there isn't enough contemporary music in Washington.. this week's for you. The Sonic Circuits Festival, which starts tonight and runs through September 27, is about showcasing the new music scene in an impressively wide range of manifestations, from the avant-garde figurehead Elliott Sharp to an evening of five Swiss experimental musicians at the Swiss Embassy to the local indie-folk duo Jamal and Anthony." - Washington Post

  Twenty-first Century Chamber Ensemble - Top Pick
"Who we’re most excited to see: Twenty-First Century Chamber Ensemble. Mostly because we saw them at Pyramid Atlantic on Saturday night, where their set finished much too quickly. We're excited to find out how those sounds translate on the Kennedy Center stage." - DCist

Comment