It's been a busy spring for me so far, as it has been for many of us. I traveled to Vancouver for the first time, and enjoyed a very early morning walk by the bay there (courtesy of the different time zone, and pictured above). The clouds and mountains and water are punctuated by a single file line of cargo ships entering the harbor north of the city. The rest of the day was spent in a lovely venue in downtown Vancouver with Talea Ensemble performing works with (and without) electronics.
Now I'm back in Troy, and have some exciting releases to tell you about:
Bergamot Quartet's In The Brink, out May 6 (tomorrow!). I recorded and mixed three of the four pieces on this record, and mastered the whole thing.
Suzanne's debut EP, out June 3. I mixed and mastered this four-song record with songwriters and musicians Jeni Schapire and Sam Zagnit.
Void Patrol, out June 17. This "dronecore jazz metal" 5-track, full length album by Colin Stetson (of Arcade Fire, Bon Iver), Elliott Sharp (composer and instrument maker), Billy Martin (of Medeski, Martin, and Wood), and Payton MacDonald (of Alarm Will Sound) is an incredible record that I had the honor of mastering. These musicians are huge names and I am excited to have been a small part of the making of this album!
And two other exciting things that happened already:
Sophia was featured on NPR Music's Top Shelf- a collection of judges' favorite submissions to the Tiny Desk Contest. The video I filmed and recorded of Sophia playing one of her soft piano pieces was picked by Bob Boilen. You can watch the episode here (link starts on the intro to Sophia's song).
Over the next few months, I will be focused on producing albums by Turnover Mule (local band I play bass in), Julia Alsarraf (close friend who I also play bass with), and Organ Colossal (me and Sophia's music non-profit). It'll be a busy summer!
I've been "joking" about starting a music blog for years. It has not yet happened, but one of the things I love most is sharing music that I find inspiring with my friends and loved ones. I also listen to a lot of music, and think about music basically all the time, so I end up occasionally having things to say about it. I thought I'd try adding a short segment to my newsletters about one song I'm listening to a lot right now, and see what happens. Maybe it'll turn into a blog.
When I travel, I always download a couple albums to my phone in Tidal, and listen to those albums on repeat. The most listened to album on my recent trip to NYC and Vancouver was The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs by Baltimore-based duo Wye Oak (Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack). The song I want to highlight is "Say Hello." This song makes me think of looking out to the horizon over the Pacific Ocean on a blindingly sunny day. The energetic waves of beautifully distorted guitars, combined with the rumbling kick drum and loose-snared snare drum in this song remind me of one of my favorite bands, Rogue Wave, which is based in Oakland, California. Rogue Wave's music has always made me think of the California sun and the ocean, and I have always loved how they seem to capture that feeling in their music. Wye Oak's "Say Hello" manages to do the same. Jenn's mesmerizing, paradiddle-like, half-step guitar riff that plays throughout most of the song is a wonderful contrast to her intricate vocal melody (which spans more than an octave in the verses). But perhaps my favorite part is the climax of the song, which builds up layers of guitars, distorted wordless vocals, and drums that feel like they're about to burst at the seams. Suddenly it all drops out and I feel like I've run off a cliff and am falling in slow motion. As the drums and guitars die away, a reassuring synth melody appears and brings the song to a quiet end. If you listen to full albums like me (as opposed to individual tracks), the silence is almost rudely interrupted by the opening of the next song, which sounds like someone plugging in a bass guitar with the amp on. But I like surprises. Anyway, you can listen to "Say Hello" here. Hope you like it!
Lastly, I uploaded a 28th release to me and Sophia's Bandcamp Subscription yesterday- a project we started in September of 2019 to share in-progress music and other recordings with our closest people. Find it here.
I'll leave it at that for now. Thank you for being here!
ps. I am trying a new newsletter platform. It's simpler, which I like. I hope it works for you too!