DAMON & NAOMI as part of CMW at the El Mocambo (464 Spadina, downstairs), Thursday (March 3), 1 am. $8 door. 416-777-1777. Rating: NNNNN
In the five years since Damon & Naomi delivered the breathtaking Damon And Naomi With Ghost disc, the duo has gone through a few changes.
They parted ways with their longtime record company, Sub Pop, started their own label and hired a manager. More importantly, though, they've refocused their approach in the studio.
"We just kept following our noses," says Damon Krukowski on the phone from his hometown of Boston. "We didn't have any time constraints, and once we thought we'd finished recording, we just didn't feel it was done."
During sessions for their new record, the fabulous Earth Is Blue, the pair decided to expand their studio from 16 tracks to 24 to muscle up their often gentle sound. The band had once again teamed up with guitar maestro Michio Kurihara of Japanese folk warriors Ghost, but once Kurihara had finished laying down his expansive guitar textures, they'd run out of tracks. A bit of a problem - especially considering the pair still had horns, bass and drums to throw into the mix.
"We used to be really into the idea of not relying on bass and drums, because those are our first instruments," continues Krukowski. "We were much more about lyrics and song structure, but I think we've come full circle."
While the duo has been showcasing the new material with a full band and a horn section, Krukowski says their Toronto appearance will be a stripped- down, back-to-basics affair.
"Unfortunately," he says, "we can't bring the horns with us, so it's going to be more of a song-based thing. Toronto is going to get the folk, singer-songwriter show."