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Sila Shaman: They Come Out At Night

Dan McClenaghan BY

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Sila Shaman: They Come Out At Night
Drummer Dave Storrs' Sound Shack—a garage beside his Corvallis, Oregon house, converted into a recording studio—has been open for business for more than two decades. Recordings go down when the mood strikes. The mood strikes often. There must be thousands of hours of unreleased stuff stocked away. So pianist Sila Shaman—who has participated productively in Sound Shack activities, most notably on the terrific Brief West Coast Tour (Louie Records, 2020)—decided to do something about the unreleased aspect of some of those sounds, recrafting and post-producing the material offered on They Come Out At Night.

Shaman was living in Corvallis when these sounds, in their raw form, went down, teaching at Oregon State University. She has since moved to New York, where she works in the jazz genre, concert music, musical theater, writing film scores and crafting electronic and experimental music. All of that comes into play with They Come Out At Night.

Shaman seems to have morphed into the Sound Shack's Teo Macero, the producer who collated and curated the rolling tapes menageries that became Bitches Brew (Columbia Records, 1970), taking the initial free range materials laid down in Dave Storrs' garage and, adding samplings and overdubs and electronic tinctures to make new remixed, re-composed tracks, starting with "Diddles," a noir-ish, cinematic brooder featuring Ben Mutschler's haunted saxophone suspended like a jellyfish inside the the rhythm section's—and Sharman's—electro-washes and twilight mists.

"Miso Matso" has the feel of twenty-first century tribalism, a soundtrack for midnight big city alleys, full of ominous, cloak and dagger atmospheres, while "Polka Beams" opens in a searching mode before it finds what it was looking for—its groove, that is danceable, in a dark way, like swaying and light stepping in the living room to a gritty murder mystery on a muted T.V., alone.

"AI In The Sky" sounds like a choir of extraterrestrials accompanied by unearthly instruments, recorded in a crystal-lined cavern of a large moon circling a gas giant ten thousand light years away.

With the raw material from which this music is taken, Shaman was faced with a certain level of chaos, a free roaming quartet indulging themselves to the max, in a mostly tranquil mode. The trick was to grab that chaos by the ankle, to try to gain some control, without losing the charm and freedom, the freshness and adventure of the sounds created in the Sound Shack. She has done just that to perfection here.

Track Listing

Diddles; Miso Matso/Revelation; Polka Beams; Undertow; AI In The Sky; There Be Monsters; The Dark; Blue Current; Wind Walker; To Heck And Back.

Personnel

Sila Shaman: piano; Ben Mutschler: saxophone; Steve Willis: bass; Dave Storrs: drums.

Additional Instrumentation

Sila Shaman: keyboards, sound shaping, synthesizers, compositions, voice; Cengiz Baysal additional drums (1).

Album information

Title: They Come Out At Night | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Wave Eleven

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