Chaz Prymek, who records under the name Lake Mary, has a new record coming out 06.29 called River Ceremony on Keeled Scales. For River Ceremony, Chaz was joined by The Ranch Family Band. In this very personal interview, Chaz talks about where he is at currently in a life full of flux, his soulmate named Favorite, music's inherent political nature and what makes this album a family affair. You can pre-order the album here

Tome: Chaz, I came to the realization that I’ve been listening to these songs, in various deconstructions and versions for almost 10 years. You would send me snippets and unfinished versions of what would eventually become “River Ceremony” as part of a failed attempt (on my end) to create a visual album as a collaboration between us. Can you tell me a bit about where you were 10 years ago and what was going on in your life when some of bedrock of these songs were being formed?

Chaz: It's true, we never finished that record, maybe one day. I started this piece a long time ago, maybe more than a decade ago. If I remember correctly, I was living in an Anarcho Collective (editors note: R.I.P Boing! Collective), spending a lot of time hitchhiking to and from Salt Lake to San Diego. Skating. Trying to fit in with everyone from the music scene at that time. The music scene in SLC was golden then.

Looking back, I can see me doing a lot of searching for meaning, for experience, trying to form myself, but lacking much guidance. This song started as most my songs still do, trying to process things, some relatively heavy shit had gone down in my young life and so I spent a lot of time playing music, trying to make sense of it. I could feel the world was both full of joy and grief coexisting, but I didn't really understand why, or what that meant.

Tome: As long as I’ve known you, you’ve lived a nomadic existence. Falling deeply in love with places and people. So deeply, where it seems like the only way to extricate yourself is to physically move to another place where you repeat the same pattern. With all of that traveling, deep loves and losses. What have been constants for you?

Chaz: In reflection, I have lived a fairly nomadic life. I don't feel like a nomad, just seems to be the way it's going. I moved around a lot as a kid, we didn't have much - if any - money so we were always moving, or being watched by a different aunt or uncle for a few weeks here and there, mostly living with my grandparents when there wasn't anywhere else for us to be. My grandparents are incredible people. I think about them everyday. That lifestyle of staying in motion seems to have stuck, but has shared with me some incredible experiences. But what stays with me most are the connections I've made. I've met my best friends this way, met my sweetheart this way, go to know myself this way.

Tome: Heraclitus famously said, “you can’t step in the same river twice”. Has the concept of the river’s “flow” – to paraphrase Heraclitus again, “everything flows, nothing abides” - been meaningful to you both in the context of your life pattern and the way in which River Ceremony picks up bits and pieces of musical phrases that have been circling in your mind?

Chaz: I don't know who Hercalitus is, but the sentiment is true, we are forever changed by every circumstance. As far as that pertains to music, I haven't thought of anyone's philosophy on it. But the flow and rivers are huge sources of inspiration for me. When I sit down to play live, rarely does a song come out the way I intended it to, it is guided by the vibes in the room, or where I am at emotionally that moment. Rarely, at least in solo sets, have I played a song the same way twice There have been times while playing shows, that I am not in the room anymore. I've gone back to the rivers edge that I know well and run that river alongside the music.

Tome: Zeroing in on one phase in your life, this record was written and recorded with the Ranch Family Band. Who is the Ranch Family Band and how did they contribute to this record?

Chaz: The Ranch Family Band is made up of some of my closest friends, and by chance, some of the best musicians and minds I've ever met. I will never be able to speak well enough about the love I have for them. They are the most special batch of folks.

Jordan Knecht is first and foremost, one of thee most incredible person in all of the cosmos, an great cook, and real good at finding swimming holes. An interdisciplinary conceptual artist in the US, one of the most amazing songwriters, He is a huge inspiration to me to strive to be the best version of myself I can be. I look up to him a lot. His art and music mean so much to me. Check out his band Muscle Brain.

Paul DeHaven is another one of the most special people I hope you all get to meet. Comfortable in his own skin, grounded and wild, also another great swimmer. Makes beautiful art, and is one of the most incredible musicians I've ever met. He plays in bands Paul DeHaven, Eye & The Arrow, Saskatoon, Heavy Diamond Ring, as well as sits in or sessions with so many more.

Jess DeHaven is one the most sincere, big hearted, and creative people I know, she is a well of plant knowledge and ideas on bringing artists together, and creating more interactive and adventurous worlds. Always seeking creative ways to exist and to be fully alive, a wonderful mom and friend. Her observations of the world are unique and thoughtful. She is also a killer swimmer. She plays in the band Saskatoon. 

Taylor Ross is one of the best minds of our time. She runs her own path, and we are all bettered by that. I admire Taylor a lot, in her skillsets, her ideology, her musicality, most of her being. She is also ridiculous and so much fun. She is only made whole by her dog friend Bean Dog. She also is an incredible artist, a spinner, a story teller, a maker (but in the sense of someone who makes, not for capitol) and putting out some of my favorite albums under the moniker GEODES.

Nathan Wheeler is above all things, an incredible friend. What a special dude. Creative genius musically, artistically, in his body and in his mind. An inspiration to always be challenging our comfort levels. His resume is wild, infact we have a game called NateFacts, much like two lies and a truth, but about Nate, they are mostly wild truths. He composes gorgeous works for dance and computer among many many many other things he does. He may just be a lemurian.

Paul – electric guitars Jordan – pump organ / acoustic guitarists Jess – cello Nate – Harmonium Taylor – Banjo

Tome: What were the political contexts in which River Ceremony was written?

Chaz: Grief and hope. 

Tome: In what way is creating art is inherently political, even when it doesn’t wear its agenda on its sleeve?

Chaz: Art is political, what you say and don't say, how you approach making art, where you play or hang or screen your art. All of it is a statement of how you approach life, and in turn politics.

Tome: You are now living in Columbia, MO. Can you tell me a bit about your life there? What brought you there? What is your present occupation and living arrangement?

Chaz: I do live in Columbia, MO for now, I live out here with my pup and partner, working on a goat farm, a produce farm, a restorative land project and at a cafe in town. I like it here. The time to change things up had come. I was at a Jennifer Simone & Laraaji show in town and was pummeled by whatever spirits were conjured up that night that I needed to be in this place for now, it was so intense I couldn't not question everything. And they lead me to where I am now.

Tome: Tell me a bit about Columbia’s musical/creative community. Why should people stop and play there on their way out West/East?

Chaz: The scene is really cool here, everyone supports each other. You'll see the droners and punks out at hip hop shows, and vice versa, most the artists out here, that I know at least, take care to lift each other up and make room for each other to be heard, and hold each other accountable. Also, we have an amazing music festival in town now called The Columbia Experimental Music Festival, formerly the Dismal Niche Fest. It has brought so many life changing artists to town, Laraaji, Mary Lattimore, Jennifer Simone, Bob Bucko Jr.

Tome: Can I assume that you are somewhat settled in Columbia, MO? How does this concept of “flow” that I’ve always come to associate with you, manifest itself in a non-nomadic / partially domesticated life?

Chaz: Good question, I think I am as settled here as I have been anywhere. The ideas of homesteading and the ideas of living on the road are both always at the front of my mind. Is that duality? My rising Gemini? My upbringing? Values? I am not sure yet, maybe it's all of those things. But I think of it lately, as pooling myself to swim around in me and in these places for a time being until the ground begins to give and a new river starts to flow.

Tome: Your releases as of late have veered into more ambient/drone landscapes, where “River Ceremony” distinctly situates some of your musical modes that include things like harmonics and nimble fingerwork on the acoustic guitar. What influenced the decision to tap into some of your earlier musical touchstones – Basho, Tompkins Square artists – for the creation of this record?

Chaz: In my world, my more ambient records and my more folk leaning records are all of the same waters. Some stories we have are held in vibes, and others in melody. Some we can only share in words, weavings, painting, but they are of the same waters. My last record on Eilean Rec was all acoustic as well, still a drone record in my eyes, but just on acoustic guitar. For this record, this was a song I needed to complete, and it only felt complete with the band altogether in this way. The second piece "Deluge", is a reflection of this time, the nostalgia and gratitude for where I've been and where I am now.

Tome: Tell me about your dog Favorite – who has graced so many of your record covers. Has Favorite been a constant in your changing life?

Chaz: Favorite is my shepherd. She came into my life over a decade ago now, and has been my best friend through everything. I can't imagine life without her. She carries my heart in her. Our story is a long and winding river, she is the love of my life, and the best friend to share a taco with. “what a long strange trip it's been...”

Monday, June 25th, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

Every once and awhile we get submissions that don't necessarily make sense to share as part of our podcast but deserve to be heard. So, here are snippets of some artists doing some great things on the periphery of shoegaze, indie rock and neo-classical music. Let's open up this pit.

sam valdez - "Further Away" 

It's difficult to write about this without mentioning two predecessors whose heavy influence on this track appear like guiding lights above a black desert night sky. Mazzy Star and Angel Olsen guide the young Sam Valdez's smoky, lilting croon into swooning, lush shoegaze country. it's a bright and billowing surge of shimmering guitars rooted in place by Valdez's earthbound arrangement and voice. Lovely stuff.

are you having fun yet - "turbo" 

The Norwegian band sprinkles some beautiful hazy textural guitar work and surging synths between their brawny post-punk bass lines. It punches well above its weight, wandering into some oddball pop moments that hit on all the right pressure points. Ever ascending choruses are reminiscent of Mew's fuck-all bravery, while huge tonal shifts recall Beach House at their most animated.  It's a bittersweet question, one that presupposes that we weren't having fun at some point. How much fun are you allowed to have in your 30's? 

approachable members of your local community - "velcro"

Look at these boooooys! Australia's Approachable Members of Your Local Community are both the short and long answer to the question, what happened to Architecture in Helsinki? I'm not sure how AMOFLC would feel about the comparison, but in the fuzzy echo chamber of memory, these things seem to coexist. Playful melodies taking the piss out of the seriousness of indie rock with out being gimmicky, lite-funk bass lines, white boy falsetto, infectious synth lines - all of these conspire together to create ear-worms straight to the throbbing pleasure center of your brain. 

maintain vertical speed - "i can see you from the soyuz"

I accidently had two windows open at once while I played this. It was dizzying and overwhelming in all the right ways. Without this doubling experiment, Maintain Vertical Speed's linear flight into pure minimal bliss where repetition cancels everything else out and all that has ever existed is the arpeggios falling over each other, picking up speed as they tumble through time and space. Open tabs on all possible universes. 

jamison isaak - "us"

Jamison Isaak, under his imprint Teen Daze, has created some damnably fine balearic pop music that I find irresistible and frequent more often than I consciously realize. For his second EP under his given name, Isaak turns to solo piano run through a series of effects to create tonal clusters rooted in House music but exploded into a building, expanding, emotionally-centered work that feels propulsive without rushing towards an end. It could exist as a 2 minute pop song or extend into eternity and still feel like it's just right. 

meg blumberg - "happenstance"

A stunning piece of neo-classical piano work that breaks wide open into a lushly orchestrated song that incorporates string arrangements and melodies that stick with you long after the track is finished. It's gossamer thread with the tensile strength of cable. Melody-rich but still very much cognizant of tonal quality and technical flourishes. A gorgeous intro. 

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

For the 18th TTTWM podcast we delve into two recent tape batches from Muzan Editions and Unifactor Tapes as well as some new work by Lou Rebecca on Holodeck Records, two tapes from Rat Tail Tapes and an enigmatic Denver producer. As always, please support the artists and labels by purchasing music from the links provided under the pictures. Enjoy!

 

kyle landstra - "within" - within/without (Muzan Editions)

Chicago-based Kyle Landstra's sidelong compositions for the Japanese label Muzan Editions are quietly unfurling spools of auditory ribbons caught in a steady synthetic breeze. Unhurried but constantly moving, a study in sequenced emotional cartography 

overscan - "sferic" - the marriage of violence and desire (muzan editions)

OverScan is a Sydney based soundmaker whose latest on Muzan Editions marries a tendency towards harsh noise with this little slice of heaven on "Sferic" where synthesizers are set to herald in some awaited bliss. 

cheekbone - "Curcuma longa" - つかの間 [Tsuka no Ma] (Muzan Editions)

With one of the most beautiful tapes this year - and any year for that matter - Cheekbone is a Japanese musician with an ear bent towards slightly pulsing, linearly building compositions that tug on the heart strings and encourage deep listening as a rule. (Dog in the Evening) fans should take note. 

brett naucke - "flora counterpoint ii" - the back of the garden (unifactor)

In what is easily Brett Naucke's finest work to date, the Chicago modular synth mavin, unworks the gordian knot of his compositions, opening and unweaving his complex and moving compositions to their base elementals before tying them up again in a rich tapestry that is best observed with at least 4-5 feet of space for optimal viewing.  

Adipsia - "ofelia" - imbue (rat tail tapes)

Released on Dane Rousay's Rat Tail Records, the San Antonio ambient electronic artist creates a surprisingly moving and deeply textured work that warps its bubbling percussive elements around deep and gorgeous drones. 

forest management - "analysis of the before and after" - rotating angle (unifactor)

John Daniel is a hyper-prolific ambient musician ambient artist who has left a breadcrumb trail of tapes and records across a variety of labels that all seem to delve deeper into the "elevated quiet" or moving stillness that inhabit the core of his compositions. 

dominic coppola - "imperial kiss" - honeymoon phase (unifactor)

Dominic Coppola surging and arching drones are sent out that retract with the beauty and grandeur of watching fireworks in reverse. A perfect capstone to this undeniably strong batch by Cleveland's Unifactor tapes.

lou rebecca - "fantôme" - lou rebecca (holodeck)

The Paris/Austin, TX based Lou Rebecca's inaugural EP is a wistful, seductive and stunningly realized slice of left-field pop that channels Marie Davidson and Air with equal clarity. 

andre cactus - "into the tactus" - layups (self-released)

I dare you not to get chills when those saxophones kick in. A gorgeously uplifting piece of downtempo R&B that utilizes chopped and screwed vocals and an kitchen sink style of additive delivery that transports as much as it elevates.

more eaze - "palm on palm" - unnatural light (rat tail tapes)

For this more eaze cut, taken from Rat Tail's Unnatural Light, the Texan musician sculpts a taught 14 minute meditation on a crawling BPM, fluttering pianos, keyed up synths and more eaze's characteristic auto-tuned vocals. 

Monday, February 12th, 2018 | Add New Comment (0)

1. Slowdive - Slowdive (Dead Oceans) - It would be easy to call this a return to form for the legendary shoegaze band. But honestly, this is beyond any form that Slowdive ever melted into. Infectious, ear-worm melodies underneath shimmering guitar tones and washes of pure spectral light.

2. Dino Spiluttini - To Be a Beast (Cut Surface) - Austrian musician employs processed piano recordings to create blown out melodies and searing, jagged holes in the moving architecture of a stately drone.

3. Demen - Nektyr (Kranky) - On the enigmatic Swedish musican’s debut for Kranky, Demen paints with deep blues and reds to create a palate somewhere between Marie Davidson’s nocturnal excursions and Portishead’s unaffected cool.

4. Lafidiki - Chinabot (Memory No. 36/Chinabot/We Be Friends) - London-based Cambodian beatmaker turned his latest record into a showcase of sorts for a broad coterie of aspiring Asian musicians. The result is an inspiring, vexing, turn-on-a-dime mix of influences, memories and throttle-held groove.

5. Nico Niquo - In a Silent Way (Orange Milk) - A sleek, meditative masterpiece of patience and timing - huge movements and tiny phrases that make compulsive repeat listening mandatory. Pure synthetic pleasure.

6. Lawrence English - Cruel Optimism (Room40) - “This record is one of protest against the immediate threat of abhorrent possible futures. It’s an object of projection, from me to you and onward from there”. A deeply felt melodic drone record that feels like a thousand dark rain clouds bursting all at once.

7. Caroline No - No Language (Students of Decay) - A record, so much unlike others on this list, that exists in chance, spontaneity and first-take-best-take breeziness. The result is a wonderfully crafted, heartwarming slice of slightly off-kilter pop. RIYL: The Pastels, Tenniscoats, Mazzy Star.

8. Hiro Kone - Love is the Capital (Geographic North) - A staggeringly astute dive into tight, linear techno - a jet stream of swirling rhythms disembodied vocals and corporeal beats. A timely, overwhelmingly political dance album that grips so tight so as to make surrender impossible.

9. Chihei Hatakeyama - Mirage (Room40) - Every year deserves a perfect ambient record. 2017 got theirs in the form of Hatakeyama’s heavily melodic, unapologetically moving piece of aural sculpting. Perfect in almost every way.

10. Terence Hannum - Impiety (Umor Rex) - I have an insane amount of respect for Terence Hannum and Locrain. Hannum’s latest on Umor Rex is a ghostly masterpiece. Comprised of Hannum’s voice and minimal synths, he creates false cathedrals of unholy dirges sent out to no gods. An eschatological document focused on the final death of man, yet oddly hopeful and triumphant.

11. Lee Noble - The Hell of You Came In (No Kings)

12. Roger Eno - This Floating World (Recital)

13. Scott Tuma - No Greener Grass (Dismal Niche)

14. Stag Hare - Starlights Gloom (Inner Islands)

15. Planning for Burial - Below the House (The Flenser)

16. Bus Gas - Live On Leave Us (Spring Break Tapes!)

17. Josh Mason & Nathan McLaughlin - On the Brink (Eilean Rec.)

18. Matt Jenick - Weird Times (Hands in the Dark)

19. High Plains - Cinderland (Kranky)

20. Atariame - Fear is the World (Constellation Tatsu)

21. Solid Waste - Visions (Dismal Niche)

22. Stabilo & Moshimoss - FIIEII (Sound in Silence)

23. From the Mouth of the Sun - Hymn Binding (Lost Tribe Sounds)

24. Sympathy Pain - Tangled Molten Skull (Hellscape)

25. Trupa Trupa - Jolly New Songs (Blue Tapes)

26. Machine Girl - Because I'm Young Arrogant and Hate Everything You Stand For (Orange Milk) 

27. jitwam - ज़ितम सिहँ (Cosmic Compositions)

28. Jefre Cantu-Ledesme - On the Echoing Green (Mexican Summer)

29. VA - The Hired Hands: A Tribute to Bruce Langhorne (Scissor Tail Editions)

30. Alex Cunningham - Ache (Personal Archive)

31. Pauline Lay - Alloy/Pulp (Heavy Mess)

32. Bryce Hackford - Looking Off (Perfect Wave)

33. The Fun Years - Heroes of the Second Story Walk Up (Spring Break Tapes!)

34. More Eaze - Firesid3 ch@t r00m (Orange Milk)

35. William Ryan Fritch & Matt Finney - A History in Boxes (Lost Tribe Sound)

36. VVV - Shadow World (Holodeck)

37. Forest Swords - Compassion (Ninja Tune)

38. Crown Larks - Population (Already Dead)

39. Justin Walsh - Unseen Forces (Kranky)

40. BELL WITCH - Mirror Reaper (Profound Lore)

41. Cloakroom - Time Well (Relapse)

42. Forest Management - The Elevated Quiet (Constellation Tatsu)

43. Uniform - Wake In Fright (Sacred Bones)

44. Guenter Schlienz - Sterne über Der Stadt (ΠΑΝΘΕΟΝ)

45. Buffalo Voice - Buffalo Voice Pilgrim Takes His Spill (Antiquated Future)

46. AMULETS - Still Lifes (Heavy Mess)

47. Big Walnuts Yonder - Big Walnuts Yonder (Sargent House)

48. Mogwai - Every Country's Sun - (Temporary Residence, LTD)

49. Elkhorn - The Black River (Debacle)

50. Vince Staples - Big Fish Theory (Def Jam)

Monday, December 11th, 2017 | Add New Comment (0)