The band was formed in 1996 by R.E.M.'s Peter Buck (guitar), Barrett Martin of the Screaming Trees (drums and percussion), Justin Harwood of Luna (bass guitar, double bass), and Skerik of Critters Buggin (saxophones).
Originally a project to get musician friends some soundtrack work, the project evolved into an active band, doing occasional live shows, and recording their first album Breaking the Ethers, encompassing a sound influenced by various styles of music, from Lebanese and Asian music to more traditional Western folk music.
Breaking The Ethers was their debut album and featured a hypnotic blend of Barrett Martin's exotic percussion collection, Peter Buck's worldly stringed instrument collection, all swirling underneath the wailing, mad-dervish horn arrangements of saxophonist Skerik. This stunning instrumental debut was warmly received for its originality and pure musical expression.