His name is Ara and he wields a keyboard. His cohort in non-cacophonic anti-crime is Riccardo and he sports a significantly smaller console. Reminiscent of a slightly more youthful and buoyant incarnation of Chromeo—they commence!
It is a rhythmically rainy night outside Counterpoint Records and Books in Hollywood and each depressed note only enhances, if not echoes, the wet and lulling cadence on the street’s shimmering sidewalk. Though a definitive solo project on the part of Ara, the two play electronically and enthusiastically like an agreeable clashing of the greatest of decidedly fraternal twins (or more sonorously groovy of dueling banjos) and together they form tonight’s modern music duo Saturus!
But they are unlike any and all musical pairings I have ever known the pleasure of seeing. Forget Peaches and Herb, Captain and Tenille or The Carpenters. Hailing from Armenia and Italy respectively Ara Ketendjian and Riccardo Minnucci have a symbiosis between them tied together most completely–like the ever-so-hailed rug in The Big Lebowski “Dude’s” heretofore disheveled apartment– by a laptop computer sitting like a most modern day moderator in a debate involving decibel levels, drumbeats, and detache. As they commence with their first song entitled Flashbulb and round out the remainder of their repertoire fittingly enough with a tune entitled Under the Light, the ever present computer, which I have come to call HAL (albeit a more benevolent to artistic and cultural version), will keep all beats backlit, and belt out—as if on cue—any and all sound effects the twain’s keyboards are not allowed to intone. This, in turn, renders all a more space-age a mix than I have come to see in a long time, even if a forward travelling time machine had been rented in order to facilitate this scenario. Sirens wail, goddesses cry—a cow might moo, but all in accordance with the righteous groove.
Comprised of only a few pieces, their set is significantly rousing from their rhythms to their comedy. In the second to last song, Do Not Stay Home “inspired by the 80s” (the sheer opposite of “Home Alone” I suppose which was released in the nineties) Minnucci will play one note through virtually the entire piece, as he admits “This next song was very difficult for me!” Ironically or coincidentally (Ironcidentally?) enough, and having grown up in the 80s, this track just happens to be my favorite. In all fairness though, Minnucci will tickle the unstringed ivories with much more deftness and stealth just as his front man Ketendjian, for the balance of the performance.
Though it is a decidedly short set, it will certainly leave the audience wanting more! Towards the evening’s end, Minnucci will thank us all for coming and inform us all that, “[more shows will be played] in April with a fuller ensemble. It should be fun!” And from the sound to the looks of it, I’ll wager he’s quite right!
Saturus’ next concert will take place in April or May along with the release of its first extended EP entitled Excuses.
For more information on Saturus, and Ara Ketendjian please visit: