LMP (la musique populaire) evolved from the Champaign, Illinois pop group Lorenzo Music, which formed around 1992. Ryan Bassler and Eric Haugen led this group through numerous lineup changes culminating in a 22-piece pop orchestra they dubbed Lorenzo Music Philharmonic. Dissatisfied with the various demo studios in which they endeavored to craft their elaborate pop sound, they built their own studio (The Eckhouse) and there recorded the 1996 release Aunt Canada, credited simply to LMP after the voice-over actor Lorenzo Music threatened to sue if they continued to use his name. Karma being what it is, everyone lost, as LMP was a far less interesting name, and Lorenzo Music later died.
Ambition was never a problem, though execution and follow-through have always been troublesome. In their minds, Bassler & Haugen were trying to create an album of Pet Sounds or Paint America Love caliber, but the debut album was compromised by budget constraints, technical limitations, and sometimes just poor judgment. Though it remains a privately-held gem to some, Aunt Canada has frequently been disowned by the band, as have most of the demos and live tapes recorded up to that point.
Champaign was a difficult place for LMP during that era, as the sound du jour was loud guitars; it was not at all uncommon for audience members to sneer at the presence of synthesizers and strings on stage. Funny, huh? The deafening non-response to LMP led to much interpersonal tension within the band, and the members split to different cities.
Thus began a wayward period in which Ryan & Eric would convene with their mobile studio in tow to work on what was to be their follow-up LP, What We've Been Doing Since We Broke Up the Beatles. The idea was to quickly dash off an album spontaneously, getting away from the laborious perfectionism that was not evident in the first album anyway. Somehow, years went by and the album was still in progress, and in fact it was never released, despite some very good material. LMP did contribute a few things (including a couple of pseudonymous tracks) to compilation records in this era, and planned an EP (Omar Sheriff) which was also scrapped.
By now a studio-only entity, Bassler & Haugen meandered out of their long-distance phase and moved to a suburb of Chicago, where they built an expanded studio (dubbed Eckhouse 2000). Weary of the stagnant tracks for their second album, and needing to bone up their studio chops as well as their creative dynamic, they decided in 1999 to shelve all previous recordings (which numbered some 200 songs) and inaugurate a new project, A Century of Song. With characteristic overzealousness, they announced that their plan to record a cover version from every year of the 20th Century would be completed within six weeks. It ended up taking 18 months, but the much-coveted box set wouldn't be officially released until 2004!
The Century sessions were sprawling and saw the band's ambitious nature rear its head once again. In tandem with the actual Century album (which contains more than 100 tracks), they recorded hundreds of hours of other songs and studio experiments, and released two EPs, The New Body Language (2000) and Meeting Up and Making Friends (2001), credited to the revised name LMP (la musique populaire) (conceived to encompass the band's seemingly wide-ranging musical style). Also begun during this time were a twisted children's LP called What'll We Do At the Zoo (still unreleased) and a proper full-length called Love Conquers Alda (released in 2003).
In 2001, LMP moved to a new studio (Shiny Vibes) in Chicago, and continued work on Alda, Zoo, and the other lingering projects, in addition to recording some solo albums. This era was nearly as productive as the Century days, though as usual, little of the material has yet to be released.
Currently LMP continues to promote Love Conquers Alda, a fantastic pop record that has received curiously little press, and is finishing up the packaging for the official release of A Century of Song. Archival releases of the shelved albums are also planned, though when LMP announces a release date, holding one's breath is not advised. Bassler & Haugen have slowed down production of new material, as the last thing they need is another project that will not be released. In LMP's delusional universe, it all makes sense. In the real world, history will decide.