Sean McCann & Matthew Sullivan – ‘Vanity Fair’ LP
Greetings, here we have Recital’s inaugural release, “Vanity Fair,” Sean McCann & Matthew Sullivan’s debut collaboration album. A fitting introduction to the ethos of Recital; the desire to turn a new page, to more accurately project what is significant and engaging in contemporary music. Matt and I had often talked about collaborating, as our musical understandings and interests align. Both drawn to minimalism and graceful ambience, we would trade tidbits and slivers of ideas casually over coffee or wine. For the better part of a year, we procrastinated our theoretical project, which in retrospect allowed our ideas to ferment. So when it actually came time to pop the cork and record, everything fell right into place. What manifested in the studio was lush and enchanting. The pieces are quite varied, and range from the majestic to the tormented, occasionally synthesizing an almost humorous blend of the two. Presenting a manipulated animal and glockenspiel march, a chamber string and glass rhapsody, and a somber harp and phone ballad – it challenges the listener and expresses the development of both acclaimed artists. It is a timeless, refined effort, that both Matt and I are very proud of. Edition of 560. Initial orders will be the deluxe red-wax edition coupled with an exclusive CDr, “In Concert.” limited to 115.
Radiant Husk – ‘Micromegas’ CDr
Seeing Matthew Erickson perform live is an impressive experience. The sound he gets by blasting his saxophone through his Fender Twin literally shakes you to the core. Erickson has a great ear for experimental music; exercising tasteful timing and restraint, which I am finding to be more and more important. Whether performing in the sax-guitar duo Sudden Oak, or solo as Radiant Husk, his sonic presence has earned the respect of many. “Micromegas” is a collection of live improvisations recorded in San Francisco before his departure to St. Louis. The album titles are street names near his recording/practice space, making it a memoir-esque document of his time in the Bay. What a lovely place. The pieces are soaked with nebulous tenor saxophone, who’s layers build and build, inventing a storm of tape saturated drone. Many of the songs are loop-based, slowly slipping out of orbit – forming allusions to minimalism. However, “Micromegas” contains a fierce spirit that minimalism can often lack. The album is bookended by hypnotic chord organ pieces, which are particularly enchanting. Another strength of this album lies in it’s sense of completion, the finished product has a strong identity. This could be your “go-to” contemporary sax-drone record, it certainly is mine. Full color artwork in jewel case, with hand numbered and stamped insert. Edition of 200.
Troy Schafer – ‘Evening Song Awaken’ CDr
Here Recital is presenting its first “classically” inspired program. I have come to enjoy classical music more and more over the years, finding it to be perfect background music for drinking, cooking, or relaxing in style. Although this album isn’t exactly background music, as it is bold and often intense with emotion, it carries a poetic quality which is as warm and whimsical as my favorite symphonies. “Evening Song Awaken” is the first real full length release by Troy Schafer, a young man from Wisconsin (affiliated with the Second Family Band, Burial Hex, Spiral Joy Band – to name a few). To me, this album is set aside from the rest of his body of work, it feels more pure and focused. Schafer’s ability to intertwine passionate composition and technical proficiency is rare and inspiring. Throughout the album counter-themes emerge and propel the pieces though frantic climaxes. These flares are contrasted though many slow pastoral reflections. You can really hear his devotion to the music. Last year, when Troy contacted me about recording a release for Recital, we discussed the ambition to produce a beautiful album. I am proud to say this ambition was realized. Schafer is destined for great things. Full color artwork in jewel case, with hand numbered and stamped insert. Edition of 200.