Always keeping an eye on what’s coming from Steven R. Smith, whether its from one of his alters as Ulaan Khol, Markhor, Passerine, or Hala Strana. This time Smith is back under his own name, peeling back the veil, but still locked into a tussle with nature. On Spring, his latest solo endeavor, the feeling is more of a subtle jazz growl rather than the more cinematic works of his altar egos. Still, there remains a feeling that this is rooted in Smith’s habit of soundtracking the natural world, as the album’s title might suggest. Smith is not alone on this recording, bringing along his longtime collaborator Gareth Davis on bass clarinet. Smith’s strings creep into view behind vernal piano before Davis adds a wash of fogged texture that makes the album’s title track spring to life with a damp chill. The new album is out May 27th from Soft Abuse.
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