What I Heard This Morning: Chris Schlarb

I have to hand it to Asthmatic Kitty. As an indie label thankfully tied to a rock darling like Sufjan Stevens, you’d think it would be in AK’s best interest to keep their roster full of similarly toned copycats. And yet, they branch out and proudly provide a home for an artist like Chris Schlarb who decides, “Yes, I need twenty-nine musicians for my next album.”

Chris Schlarb's "I Can Live Forever If I Slowly Die" really shouldn't shock me THAT much. Since commissioning sound artists and musicians to explore soundtrack music, Asthmatic Kitty’s backing of a jazz project seems like further confirmation that the label recognizes and respects independent music and not just “indie” music. Schlarb composes light free form backing, “In A Silent Way”-styled trumpeting and choral harmonies. I’ve only heard this excerpted version of the song, but as a teaser, it goes a long way.

Below is information on Schlarb’s upcoming album, Psychic Temple.

I Can Live Forever If I Slowly Die (Excerpt) by schlarb

From Terrorbird Media:

Chris Schlarb (I Heart Lung) to release Psychic Temple this November

The 29 piece ambient-jazz ensemble features Mike Watt, Mick Rossi (Philip Glass Ensemble), Julianna Barwick, DM Stith, and many more. Out digitally November 23rd on Asthmatic Kitty. Kickstarter campaign launched for
Sounds Are Active's vinyl release.

An astounding work of passion and patience over one thousand hours in the making, Long Beach musician/composer Chris Schlarb bestows his latest musical vision, 
Psychic Temple, onto the world. Known for his work as half of the hypnotic, jazz/drone duo, I Heart Lung, Schlarb's latest work expands wildly in new directions, incorporating wordless vocal choirs, string quartets and horn sections into his 29-member ensemble.

Inspired by the rhythmic pulse of microhouse, and the melodic vocabulary of jazz and folk music, 
Psychic Temple is a deeply considered meditation on beauty. Recording began in January of 2009 and over the next nineteen months Schlarb collaborated with twenty-eight musicians (including four bassists, three drummers and six vocalists) to build Psychic Temple.

It would not be an exaggeration to boast that 
Psychic Temple contains performances from some of today's finest musicians including Mick Rossi of the Philip Glass Ensemble, legendary Minutemen bassist Mike Watt, vocalists Julianna Barwick, DM Stith, Joel St. Julien (of ELLUL), Aaron Roche, trumpeter Kris Tiner, Brian Blade Fellowship pedal steel guitarist Dave Easley, Weird Weeds percussionist Nick Hennies, guitarist Danny Miller and drummer Tabor Allen (of Rare Grooves and The Widow Babies), bassists Steuart Liebig, C.J. Boyd and Anthony Shadduck, and Danny T. Levin and David Moyer on horns.

On November 23rd, Asthmatic Kitty will digitally release
Psychic Temple. Schlarb has just launched a Kickstarter campaign in which his label Sounds Are Active will print 500 LPs of the album, hand-numbered and signed. For all pledges of $10 or more, folks will receive the digital download of the album. Some of the prizes you can will at different levels of donation include hand-written sheet music, two hours at Sounds Are Active Studios, Electro-Harmonix equipment used on the record, a song written for you, a chance for Chris Schlarb to produce your record, and even having him fly anywhere in the US and perform Psychic Temple (and even take requests). Check it all out HERE.

Praise for his last record 
Twilight and Ghost Stories and I Heart Lung...

"Twilight is jazz in the same sense as the genre-smashing stuff the Art Ensemble of Chicago played from the late '60s through the early '80s. Which is to say that it both epitomizes and transcends the genre."
-Tiny Mix Tapes

"I Heart Lung, a guitar-and-drums duo from Southern California, makes music of calm comportment and shadowy effect. Its style combines minimalist repetition, free-jazz epiphany, noise-rock fervor and drone-music mystique: an avant-garde connoisseur's blend, unsteadily but endlessly percolating."
-NY Times

"Top 5 Jazz Album of 2008. After recording a series of Brian Eno-inspired drones, I Heart Lung enlisted additional contributions from guitarist Nels Cline, trumpeter Kris Tiner, field recorder Aaron Ximm and many more. I Heart Lung creates an organic world, which ties all these disparate elements into a sound that moves together."

"They shift, they stretch, they bend, they change form, they break rules, all in search of what feels right. And when they find what they're looking for, they move on to the next thing."
-Pitchfork Media


Psychic Temple
out November 23, 2010

1. I Can Live Forever If I Slowly Die - 10:10
2. Dream State > Police State - 9:04
3. Daughters of Ursa Major - 5:30
4. White Dove In The Psychic Temple - 8:28

Letters From A Tapehead


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