The new San Kazakgascar album didn’t come together in the way it typically might. We had some song skeletons that we had been doing loose improvised versions of with different players in different cities, a couple of older songs we wanted to improve on, and some brand new stuff. In late 2019, things seemed scattered, Kaz-wise, until I discovered that there was a really good drummer living down the street from me. It’s taken me a long time, but I’m finally beginning to learn that sometimes you have to actually wait for the right people and the right time. And then strike!
We began recording Emotional Crevasse in January 2020, not knowing how much more of an emotional crevasse we would find ourselves in a few months later. Ninety-five percent of the album was recorded and in the can before covid-lockdown commenced. Anchored by guitarist Jed Brewer, bassist Greg Hain, and new drummer Anthony Occipinti, the album also features contributions from clarinetist Rachel Freund, flute/hulusi- player Linda Michelle Hardy, keyboardist Matthew Kretzman, saxophonist Chris Hall, cellist Colleen T. Kelly, bass clarinetist James Jaroba Barnes, vocalist Christine Shields, and a dash of throat-singing from Arrington de Dionyso. The album was recorded and mixed by Greg Hain.
Emotional Crevasse is all over the place. There are the characteristic Kazakgascar quasi-Middle Eastern psych riffs, but also some quiet acoustic bits, and some long tones/drones. Even a couple of peppy numbers. An emotional roller coaster? Some of the album’s songs like “The Thirsty West”, “The Emerald Triangle”, and the title cut were the product of pieces that had been mostly improvised in live settings over the previous year, before landing in their finished form on the album. The supporting cast really brought the songs to life and I feel really fucking lucky that they all stepped in to contribute. And Hain…. Hain! He keeps getting better at this whole recording/mixing game.
Emotional Crevasse is available on vinyl LP, compact disc, and of course, the digital super highway. I hope this missive finds you well, or well enough for now. Who knows how things will look and feel in 2021? The thing I will remember most about putting this album together is how everything fell in place for a brief moment and then froze.
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