If you don't recognize Chris Schlarb's name, it's because he's the kind of man whom music flows through, rather than the sort who spends his time corralling sound into the spotlight. Through his Psychic Temple project — which has looped in everyone from Mike Watt to Serengeti to Nedelle Torrisi to Sufjan Stevens — the player/composer has earned a rep for combining rock, jazz, and soul to stunning effect. But in approaching his new album Making the Saint, out May 27 on Asthmatic Kitty, the Long Beach artist did something different.
Schlarb gathered his instruments and drove out to an 1870s cabin, by himself.
"When I started driving up into the mountains, I didn't have any new music prepared," he writes. "As I drove, I found myself yearning for an intimate, unpolished sound. Even though Psychic Temple is a big deal, I love small records. When I say 'small record,' I think of Sandy Bull's Fantasias for Guitar and Banjo, Bill Evans trio albums at the Village Vanguard, Fripp & Eno's No Pussyfooting, or Thelonius Monk's sublime Solo Monk. Each of these albums is simple and direct. Making the Saint is a small record too."
Still, Making the Saint has an inclusive, panoramic feel — like a wide-armed hug, which you can experience below. Stream the entire gorgeous work here, and save the link so you can hear it as Schlarb suggests: "I recommend listening to this album on a Sunday morning before the day makes an imposition. I hope you enjoy it." We're pretty sure you will.
Chris Schlarb tour dates:
July 5 - Phoenix, AZ @ Trunk Space
July 6 - Santa Fe, NM @ High Mayhem
July 8 - San Antonio, TX @ House Show
July 9 - Austin, TX @ Church of the Friendly Ghost
July 15 - Nashville, TN @ Stone Fox
July 16 - Athens, GA @ Cine
July 20 - Washington DC @ Union Arts DC
July 23 - New York, NY New Amsterdam
July 27 - Athens, OH @ Donkey Coffee
July 28 - Cincinatti, OH @ House Show
July 29 - Owensborough, KY @ Daviess County Public Library
July 30 - Indianapolis, IN @ Joyful Noise
July 31 - Goshen, IN @ Ignition Music
August 1 - Chicago, IL @ Comfort Station
August 2 - Oshkosh, WI @ Oshkosh Masonic Center