Chris Schlarb is set to release Psychic Temple II, the sequel to 2010’s masterful, restrained ambient-jazz opus Psychic Temple, this summer via Asthmatic Kitty. Here, his drifty minimalist jazz expands to include a little more twangy indie rock and some tasteful covers — including Frank Zappa’s “Sofa No. 2” and a yacht-ready version of Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out.” It’s beautiful and almost dangerously relaxed, a true feat considering that the many guests include such traditionally manic performers such as Mars Volta keyboardist Ikey Owens and Paul Masvidal from death-prog band Cynic.
“‘Til I Die” is a cover of a Brian Wilson deep cut feating Schlarb on acoustic guitar and vibraphone, Owens on the Hammond organ, and vocals by Nedelle Torrisi and some Asthmatic Kitty labelmate named Sufjan something. Hear this plaintive number while a record spins outdoors and branches wave in the wind.