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Blue Shift was a one-night only concert event at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Harlem. We wanted to perform our new album with all of the instruments we used to record it - so we invited all of our friends to help.
When I listen back to our album Blue, I hear it as a collection of places where I wrote and recorded the record. Some verses are dusty libraries in Barcelona. Some guitar parts are my apartment in New York, where I would unplug the refrigerator and record in the kitchen. It's simultaneously so many different times and so many different people.
Music is unique in that it's really two things. As a recording artist you control time, creating spaces that exist between the headphones that could never exist in a real acoustic space. As a performing artist work lives in the unknowable present, absent as soon as it's made manifest, leaving only echoes in its wake.
So it's always felt a little weird to me listening to a modern record knowing it's more of a collage - more of a sculpture - than a performance. We recorded hundreds of hours of takes and whittled them into the final 47-minute Blue. And it felt like it would always exist in that format. The recording featured a string section, 5-part vocal harmonies, a mellotron, an organ, and a bunch of other stuff - the six piece band that coalesced from the recording sessions wouldn't be able to replicate those original arrangements.
But as the band continued to play, the songs that had become so fixed in my mind loosened and began turning into something different. Tempos changed. Drums began creeping into material that was previously without percussion. And as the music grew, it seemed we began a process of rebirthing. We wanted to share the material again in the context to which it was now a part.
We searched around for a venue and came upon St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Harlem. We formed a huge band from friends we've played with over the years, piled all of our gear into the church, and threw a special one-night-only concert for our friends and families. And because we went to all the trouble, we brought along some film folks so we could share the evening with everyone.
Art isn't ever really done, it just gets taken away from you at some point. At that moment it's frozen in time. Blue Shift is the breathing snapshot of what Blue is, one year out.
We hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed making it.
- Kyle Evans, June 2014
- Kyle Evans Tenor vocals, Guitar, Piano
- Aviva Jaye Alto Vocals, Piano
- Steve Sasso Banjo, Vocals
- Shareef Taher Drums
- Josh Grove Electric Guitar
- Jason Mattis Bass Guitar
- Zachary Stains Tenor Vocals
- Michael Gullo Tenor Vocals
- Jeffrey Young Violin
- Pinky Weitzman Viola
- Isabel Castellvi Cello
- Oliver Manchon Violin
- Kyra Sims French Horn
- Katie Scheele Oboe
- Nicolas Renier Organ
- Chris D. Butler Post Production Mixing, Recording Engineer, Reinforcement Sound Mixer, Post-Production Consultation
- Jason Ewald Assistant Recording Engineer, Reinforcement Sound Mixer
- Garrett Frierson Post Production Mixing
- Kyle Evans Post Production Mixing
- Charlie Pilzer Mastering
- Sebastian Ischer Director, Camera
- Andrei Zakow Producer, Camera
- Gabriel Stanley Director of Photography
- Samantha Shannon Camera
- Rob Fattorini Lighting
- Danny Ghitis Photography, Camera