Asthmatic Kitty Records & Producer/Guitarist CHRIS SCHLARB,
Present Psychic Temple II
Featuring Eight Schlarb Originals
Plus Covers of Frank Zappa, Joe Jackson & Brian Wilson
Out July 16th, 2013 on CD, 12″ Vinyl
& On Limited Edition Flexi-Postcards
It may seem hard to imagine a place where indie rock visionaries like Sufjan Stevens and Castanets’ Ray Raposa could meld minds with the genius of Brian Wilson, where death metal pioneer Paul Masvidal might wield his legendary six-string chops on a blissed-out soul ballad, where adventurous young jazz players like Kris Tiner and Devin Hoff share credit with Mars Volta keyboardist Ikey Owens and singer/songwriter Aaron Roche.
Long Beach composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist (not to mention truck driver) Chris Schlarb has not only imagined such a place but has now made it manifest for a second time. Released by Asthmatic Kitty, Psychic Temple II is a labor of love, envisioned by Schlarb to bring his most far-ranging inspirations to life – as he puts it, “a dream ensemble that could never actually exist.” The ensemble’s sophomore release was painstakingly constructed over more than a year with the cooperation of some of the most progressive musical minds from a staggering variety of genres.
“I love interesting juxtapositions, where you bring together people from different communities,” Schlarb says. He cites iconoclastic predecessors like Bill Laswell’s ever-changing group Material, which once brought together a young Whitney Houston with jazz legend Archie Shepp and future Soundgarden and Red Hot Chili Peppers producer Michael Beinhorn to cover a song by Hugh Hopper of English prog-rock pioneers Soft Machine. On 2010’s Psychic Temple, Schlarb assembled a 29-member ensemble that included Minutemen bassist Mike Watt, vocalist Julianna Barwick, and pianist Mick Rossi of the Philip Glass Ensemble.
“It seems like a crazy combination of people,” Schlarb says, “but they’re all just musicians. Why not bring them all together? It may not always work, but it’s always worth reaching further.”
Psychic Temple II reaches beyond the long-form experiments of its predecessor for a more tightly focused yet conceptually dense collection whose songs are no less exploratory for their briefer durations. “I never see the point in continuing to regurgitate,” Schlarb says of the new album’s unique direction. “What was natural at that time would now feel contrived. I have to keep moving forward.”
Schlarb also includes three cover songs by composers who share his boundary-demolishing mindset: Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out,” Frank Zappa’s “Sofa No. 2,” and Brian Wilson’s “’Til I Die,” a gorgeous, lesser-known Beach Boys song that features vocals by Sufjan Stevens, Castanets’ Ray Raposa, and Cryptacize’s Nedelle Torrisi. (more…)