GRAMMY-nominated trumpeter John Raymond and Bon Iver sideman S. Carey released their video for “Transient,” the newest single from Raymond and Carey’s upcoming collaborative album Shadowlands. The album was produced by Sun Chung, and will be released on the Libellule Editions imprint of Chung’s Red Hook Records.
“In the months leading up to the initial round of recording we did for the album, I started developing an idea for a melody and chord progression that had a really strong feeling to me but no clear direction,” Raymond explains of “Transient.” “No matter what I tried, I couldn’t find the song inside of it. Then, one morning during the sessions, I came to the studio a bit early by myself. I sat down at the piano, started playing the idea, and within thirty minutes the entire song unveiled itself. It was magical. As I played it for the first time, I remember feeling like each phrase had this fleeting, transient quality to it. The song feels like it’s here for a moment and then just vanishes. The more we played it, the more I felt like it was symbolic of the inspiration that all the songs on the record came from.” This video was recorded at the Masonic Temple in Eau Claire, WI and it includes Aaron Parks on piano, Jeremy Boettcher on bass, and Ben Lester on synth and pedal steel.
For S. Carey and John Raymond, the opportunity to collaborate has been a long time in the making. After meeting as music students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where they studied both classical and jazz music, Carey and Raymond’s careers went in very different directions. Carey would become the right-hand man for Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver), collaborate with the likes of Sufjan Stevens and Bruce Hornsby among others, and release four albums to critical acclaim from Pitchfork, NPR, and more. Simultaneously, Raymond was carving out a career as an internationally-recognized jazz trumpeter, “steering jazz in the right direction” (Downbeat Magazine) by releasing eight albums of his own and collaborating on many more, including four nominated for a GRAMMY.
The two reunited in 2018 when Raymond sat in with Carey on tour, and they started to float the idea of working on a collaborative project. An initial round of sessions in 2019 yielded the opening two tracks of the album, but much of the other music was still in experimental form until Raymond shared it with Sun Chung, who was producing for ECM Records at the time. Chung took an interest immediately and came on board to further develop the project.
The result is Raymond and Carey’s upcoming co-release, Shadowlands, a stunning, gorgeous collection of songs uprooted from simple genre descriptors. Recorded in the woods of Eau Claire, Wisconsin where the two met almost twenty years ago, the music combines the warmth and beauty of Carey’s aesthetic with the improvisational, spontaneous nature of Raymond’s, blurring the lines between indie folk, forward-thinking jazz, lush pop, and atmospheric electronic music. Soaring and anthemic moments are balanced with the intimate and meditative, giving way to a wide range of expression. Surrounding Carey’s breathy vocals and Raymond’s lyrical horn is an earthy sonic landscape that blends acoustic and electronic textures effortlessly, and the subtle, electric moments of musical interplay throughout the album repeatedly invite you deeper into their new musical world.
Photo Courtesy: Kyle Lehman