Multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Rick Eppedio and lead singer Cindy Keyser-Posner first began playing together in Commonwealth, a well-known New York-area rock cover band, in the late 1970s, before putting aside their set lists to form Barbarian Lovers, an original studio project, in 1984. Independently producing demos on their newly-acquired four-track in Rick’s basement, the very first song they wrote together, the catchy and tuneful ‘Hip Hip Hop,’ caught the ear of Blondie/Go-Gos producer Richard Gottehrer, who encouraged the two to continue their newly-formed collaboration. Shortly thereafter, the pair were offered a record deal with an indie label out of Texas, as well. The following year, the Barbs had their first European release on Italian label Cruisin’, who put out a 12” vinyl of ‘Where Have the Feelings Gone’ b/w ‘Round and Round.’ Excited by the positive response to their music, the band formed their own independent label, Blue City Productions, in 1987, and began servicing college/alternative radio, garnering much positive press and radio response, including being named ‘Spotlight Pick of the Month’ by The Gavin Report. Still without a major record deal, despite interest from several top labels, the pair released their first full-length LP, ‘Fatal Embrace,’ the same year, which was lauded by Billboard’s Music & Media, as well as scoring substantial radio play and press throughout western Europe and Asia, particularly in France, Spain, Italy, and Scandinavia. In 1989, the band’s first LP was re-released in Europe by London-based Aura Records, where labelmates included Alex Chilton, Steve Marriott, and Nico. Following this, the Barbs released two follow-up CDs, ‘Faith in a Desperate Place’ and ‘Dancing in Dreams,’ both of which were met with great enthusiasm on European radio, particularly in Denmark, where the group conducted a radio promotion tour in 1992. Not long afterward, the band, who have been compared by critics to acts ranging from Tears for Fears to Eurythmics, went on extended hiatus, eventually resurfacing as the harder-edged Smoke Ring Days.
Smoke Ring Days
Smoke Rings Days first formed in 1993, the product of the re-pairing of musicians Rick Eppedio and Cindy Keyser-Posner, who had worked together previously as Barbarian Lovers. Desiring to update the synth-based sound they had pioneered with the Barbs, and anxious to explore a more guitar-driven and socio-politically-oriented genre of music, the band put out ‘The Healing Time’ in 1994, an album which was comprised of a dozen new tracks, ranging stylistically from alt-country/Americana to folk-rock to modern blues. Venturing out to play live, both as a duo and with the addition of various musicians and friends, the band - which has been compared by critics to acts ranging from Fleetwood Mac to Pretenders to REM - was a regular part of New York City’s Greenwich Village music scene during the mid-to-late 1990s. In the autumn of 1999, the pair released the ‘best of’ album ‘Songs of Simple Dreams,’ an amalgam of re-claimed Barbarian Lovers songs and new Smoke Rings Days compositions dedicated to Cindy’s dad, long a behind-the-scenes supporter of the band. ‘Sins of Commission’ and ‘Da Capo,’ two collections of new and previously-unreleased material, followed in 2001, the year the band acquired their state-of-the-art digital studio. Since that time, the creative collaborators have been busy composing and recording, working on two projects simultaneously, the political pop of Smoke Ring Days and the trippy world beats that comprise SpiceHouse, samples of which can be found on this website.
Influenced by the unique stylings of musicians as diverse as Ornette Coleman, the Grateful Dead, Brian Eno, and Jefferson Airplane, SpiceHouse is a foray into world beats, acid and traditional jazz forms, and jammed-out trip hop grooves, filtered through the aural prism of Barbarian Lovers and Smoke Ring Days, the band’s previous rock and folk-rock incarnations. Citing the works of groundbreaking artists from the avant-garde jazz scene of the 1950s to modern day electronica pioneers, SpiceHouse has quickly become a favorite of downloaders. Stand-out performances by R&B/funk musician John Scarpulla (John Hiatt, B.B. King, Robert Cray, et al) on alto and soprano sax accent SpiceHouse’s studio work. The band’s sound blurs the boundaries between radio-friendly rock and extended improvisational explorations. From upbeat polyrhythmic syncopations to meandering, mystical soundscapes, Spicehouse mixes music from many eras and styles, from ancient ecclesiastical modes to twelve tone atonal music to modern ambient music and various world and electronic grooves, the latter a focal point of their newest side project, Sinfonia Electronique.
Sinfonia Electronique is an international collective of European, Asian, and North American musicians who have come together to interpret new musical works created by its members. Focusing on compositions by American musicians Richard Eppedio and Cindy Keyser-Posner, and featuring performances by a select group of kindred musical spirits from various stylistic backgrounds, Sinfonia Electronique continues to move forward while maintaining a backward gaze, ever mindful of those who have come before them and blazed an amazing trail of musical mastery, leaving a legacy these performers strive to keep alive in the twenty-first century.