I picked up a cheap used CD a few weeks ago. It appealed on every level: 1990, moody looking pair on the front, one holding a viola, and nothing about them on the interweb I could find. £3 for a new experience? Bargain.
The album is Swans and Turtles, by Mark Springer and Sarah Sarhandi. She's a viola player and composer, I guess you'd say: she exists in the space between classical and jazz and pop. Potentially unutterably pretentious, you might think, but no. Mr. Springer? I have no idea. There's nothing about him anywhere - and no youtube footage of any of it. Even Last.fm has very little, and one comment from someone who did the same as me.
What's the music like? Well, I'm a sucker for the viola anywhere: Vaughan Williams' Flos Campi is one of my favourite pieces of music, and the same goes for Morton Feldman's The Viola in My Life. They say the cello is lovely because it's closest to the human voice's range - I reckon the viola is close too. Terrible violinist though I was, I always assume that I'd be a better viola-ist just because there's the wonderful warm hum about a viola. This album sounds to me like a mix of Vaughan Williams, Delius, the minimalists, 4AD, the Velvet Underground, Galaxie 500/Damon and Naomi and Madder Rose. Soft, melodic, but with an underlying edge. Melancholic, sure but sweet too.
It's so good that I've rather naughtily uploaded some for your delectation. Hope they work.