Seven years ago Ara Starck met David Jarre in Paris. She was a painter, he was a magician. She was just back from New York where she had been experimenting with a new pictorial approach culminating in a series of “lenticular" portraits. He had just spent the last six years of his life as a magician travelling the world, paying his way with conjuring tricks. Their meeting produced magic of another kind, crystallised today in The Two, a duo that weaves together its members' atypical career paths, and melds their singularities in a shared intimacy.
David started playing guitar in his early teens, influenced by contempory artists like Pearl Jam or Jeff Buckley, and at the same time, he developed a fascination for magic and made it his hobby and later his job. Ara has always sung. However, painting was her first creative medium. After studying at the Paris Beaux Arts, Ara spent eight years in London. She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, from which she graduated in 2002. Influenced by El Greco and the strange world of video artist Matthew Barney, Ara nonetheless acknowledges that music is still her main source of inspiration. “I have always approached painting not so much through drawing but through texture and matter, and for me the voices of Marianne Faithfull or Lou Reed are inspiring pictorially as much as musically".
The starting point for The Two was the song I Wanna Be With You Again. “when I was recording the demo I realized that the song should be a duo and knew Ara's voice would be perfect for it". From then on they decided to work together on more songs. At the start of 2009, they took their demos to Wagram label, which signed The Two. From June to December, Ara and David shut themselves away from the world, fine-tuning a work that involved no other musicians and no producer. David explored all the engineering possibilities of the studio, including mixing, eager and thirsty to learn all the different steps of the recording process. Ara, meanwhile, was singing and penning the lyrics - In My Head, Piece of You and Coma Was Not Her Name - and David set them to music.
On their debut album, Ara and David are seemingly rediscovering the magic of uncluttered melody, primary sound colours and simple words, all underlined with strength and elegance by their vocal harmony. As though improvised, The Two's music speaks with a rare natural voice. The music feels like an invitation to dream with them in their own secret garden. All the songs are very direct – acoustic or electric guitar, bass, drums – with a sprinkling of piano (Close To Me), mellotron washes (Piece of You, Hold My Heart), or heady electric guitar solos (Everyday, In My Head). Each song has the quality of an enchanting rough sketch on which the voices of Ara and David imprint their singular charm, reflecting a shared melancholy and solitude. Whether they choose to sing in unison, as on I'm 22, or in Q&A as in Close To Me, the songs tell the story of two people sharing a fascinating complicity, rich with a thousand affinities and an equal dose of turbulence.