Naming is a compulsory ceremony. It starts with an assumption. An assumption that the traits of eponymous saints, grandfathers, or the drummer from Whitesnake will somehow mean something to a child, enough for them to emulate. Most of us have zero control over the naming process and are left to the capricious whims and phases of our parents. My parents named me Ryan because they thought it would be original (there were three Ryan H.s in my fourth grade class). The search for meaning in ones name is reductive; we start looking at traits in our personality that may stem from us being named after a long dead Argentinean composer or martyr long after most of the events that have shaped our character have occurred. We are hoping, perhaps, that we are beyond the sum of our parts, that there is something we see in ourselves that matches the metaphysical or universal traits of the historical figure/animal/household appliance we are named after.
We name ourselves, however, only after major life events like religious conversions, introduction/expulsion from birthing cults, starting a band, quitting that band and changing your name to a symbol, changing your name back from the symbol to the name you changed to when you started the band and then back to the name your parents gave you.
When Chaz Prymek began recording music he did so under his given name. Later, as his project would expand beyond a virtuosic kid playing cluster notes and finger-tapping acoustic guitar channeling, Chaz’s name changed to something that not only represented geographic location but the cohesion of ideas, frequent collaboration and a spiritual rebirth on magnetic tape.
Chaz Prymek’s many names and voice, drawn together like droplets forming a pool, coalesce and settle in Lake Mary’s latest offering, a four song EP called Sheep Dog. The Tome has covered just about everything Chaz/Lake Mary has ever produced, and those following this are probably tired of reading “this album is the best yet.” I am going to refrain from superlatives when writing about music. Starting. Like. Now.
Sheep Dog is the happy marriage of Lake Mary’s explosive finger-picking guitar communion and a collaboration with a bevy of jazz musicians and vocalists whose contributions range from tightly composed song-cycles, breathy drones and free jazz explorations of three-dimensional space. Because of the collaborative nature of later Lake Mary recordings, Chaz’s characteristic hyper-complex note clusters are embedded deep into the fabric of the song, otherwise Chaz’s guitar contributions create the sturdy backbone of the composition, shepherding timing and movement. Only the EP’s last song, “Soca’s Lament” is an unaccompanied guitar.
I know I said that my superlative statements were over... But, “Aurmakua.” Best Lake Mary song ever recorded. Ever. Back-tracked guitars, trills and swoops of brass, multiple tempo changes and some of the most beautiful post-Fahey stabs of acoustic guitar out there.
This is set up as a free download on Lake Mary’s bandcamp page. I have been waking up every morning up to this album.