Julian Koster carols at NPR's Tiny Desk

Julian Koster carols at NPR's Tiny Desk

Julian Koster created The Singing Saw at Christmastime in 2008 to share the carols of the Singing Saw with us, and this year NPR Music has invited Julian to their Tiny Desk for a special presentation.

Watch the set at NPR Music now.

Bob Boilen writes:
Somewhere inside the body of Julian Koster — the Elephant 6 and Neutral Milk Hotel alumnus who once released an entire album of Christmas songs performed on a singing saw — lives a 13-year-old boy filled with wonder, imagination and a talent for spinning a good, quirky tale. Just in time for the holidays, and with the season in mind, Koster and his friends brought those wide-eyed songs and earnest spirit to the NPR Music offices for a joyful and strange Tiny Desk Concert performance.

Collectively known as The Music Tapes, they mixed bowed banjos and singing saws with tape machines, a chord organ and a crooning snowman to create a psychedelic holiday music pageant. Whether it's the traditional "The First Noel" (scored here for two musical saws) or a reworking of Gavin Bryars' avant garde piece "Jesus Blood," or even their venture into Santa songs, there's no one else playing holiday music quite like this. That is, unless you're a band of 13-year-olds with very vivid imaginations.


Order The Singing Saw at Christmastime on CD, LP or digital download in the Merge Holiday store now. Orders over $50 save 10% through the end of December.