Sam Prekop and John McEntire have labored in harmony for shut to 30 yrs. As the singer-guitarist and drummer in The Sea And Cake – along with bassist Archer Prewitt – the pair have amassed a body of operate that usually takes a great several several hours to sift through on Spotify, while this sort of is the breezy, easy character of the content, you’d be difficult pushed to try to remember which tracks stand out. For fans, this familiarity has lengthy been aspect of the Chicago band’s appeal: throughout 11 albums given that their debut in 1994, The Sea And Cake’s innocuous article-rock – at periods jazzy, at times overtly pop, generally elegantly turned out – has been a reliable, comforting presence a stable reminder that no make a difference how awful items are in the entire world, Sam Prekop will nevertheless be singing his inscrutable poetry in hushed tones over lushly arranged grooves, each new instalment of elegant fusion a little bit different to the previous.
Hear closely and they are a dynamic proposition – elements of modular synthesis and percussive percolations populate 2011’s The Moonlight Butterfly and 2012’s Runner – however like any top quality act, their particular person talents are in service to the reward of the team, and The Sea And Cake’s enduring geniality can generally appear to have turned these elite musicians into journeymen. With Sons Of, Prekop and McEntire’s to start with joint collaboration, we get to listen to what comes about when they’re freed from the band structure, when typical structures no for a longer time utilize, and these inherently reserved creatures are permit loose in the wild. As an physical exercise in dwell, mostly improvised electronics, these four extended items carry out the most effective in the pair, showcasing their means to go with the movement even though harnessing their specific strengths.
By selection, McEntire has put in his complete occupation as an engineer, mixer and producer doing the job in the framework of other bands’ schedules – he not too long ago worked on Ryley Walker’s Training course In Fable – and as the driving force driving Tortoise, his abilities as put up-rock’s rhythm king glow only sporadically these days. Their previous album, The Catastrophist, came out in 2016, and even in just that group of cost-free-jazz maestros just about every member has a part to enjoy, normally curtailing their chances for self-expression.
Prekop’s musical evolution is a lot more revealing, for the reason that at some position between his 2005 solo set Who’s Your New Professor and 2010’s Previous Punchcard he acquired the bug for modular synthesis and resolved to shift his concentration from shimmering indie to vocal-a lot less analogue electronics, its designs and irregularities pleasing to his creative sensibility (he’s also a photographer and painter). For a quiet and thoughtful guy, the daring instrumental functions on his two recent albums, The Republic (2015) and Comma (2020), probably make it possible for him to say additional about himself, as he tries to give form and which means to the abstract seems he’s generating in his residence studio in Pilsen, Chicago.
Sons Of – named by McEntire after the Scott Walker song and that includes McEntire’s cats, Jackie and Lamar, on the include – prospects on from a couple of Prekop’s submit-Comma excursions, “Spelling” and “Saturday Saturday”, two 20-minute parts of pastoral circuit-bending for the Longform Editions imprint. Yet it is McEntire who propels these new tracks alongside with succulent kicks and crisp snares, the hello-hats dissolving into hiss as “A Ghost Of Noon” breaks down midway in, and the pulses shifting to a four-4 climax throughout “Crossing At The Shallow”. For a undertaking that commenced out a couple of yrs in the past as an occasional reside improvisation – the pair sat on stage struggling with each other, hunched more than their equipment, no fastened notion of where they’re headed – it is turn out to be a tantalising exploration of contemporary-working day kosmische. Seemingly liberated by technology, these two fifty-anything blokes conjure the form of utopian panoplies dreamt up by Harald Grosskopf and Neu! on the 24-minute “A Yellow Robe”, a swirling, burbling journey that also nods to recent experiments by Roman Flügel and Peder Mannerfelt.
That track is dependent on a reside recording from a present in Chicago at the conclusion of past calendar year, while “A Ghost Of Noon” stems from an before efficiency in Düsseldorf. Each were then buffed up by Prekop and McEntire in their respective studios – McEntire now life in Portland, Oregon – and then sent among each other until finally concluded. What is most surprising about Sons Of is how cozy the pair are with this more psychedelic path – primary you to speculate why they’ve under no circumstances done this variety of detail prior to. The closing “Ascending By Night” is a powerful piece of smouldering techno, bathed in gauzy synths. If this is what the submit-rock afterparty sounds like, rely us in.