Cameron Stallones of Sun Araw: "[Jamaica is] a Place of Infinite Music"
See also: Sun Araw covers Teenage Fanclub's Bandwagonesque at the Hard Rock Cafe in LA
L.A.'s Sun Araw, the slow-rolling psych project of Cameron Stallones, is an ideal gateway into long-form music for those suspicious of epic jam territory. There is nary a Sun Araw tune shorter than six minutes, but rarely have the most compelling aspects of psych, dub and ambient music been so carefully alchemized.
Earlier records featured booming bass, minimal beats providing dub-funk momentum and blistering guitar that never ventured into drug-addled meta-shred oblivion. Last year's Ancient Romans, released by Drag City, found Stallones treading in calmer, more ponderous ambient terrain while still maintaining pleasant melodic density.
Sun Araw will be joined this Wednesday, March 7, at the Meat Market Garment Factory in Tempe by a distinguished L.A. crew: beat producer Matthewdavid, synth wizard M. Geddes Gengras and psych songstress Diva Dompe.
The Sun Araw m.o. is extended grooves through distillation. Stallones approaches all of his recordings through free improvisation, with extensive edits and over-dubs coming after the fact. He says the process of confining those loose compositions can be trying.
"It's exciting too, in a way," Stallones says over email, "but it's always just sort of runaround, trying to get everything to fit. I record in a really maximal way, so mixing involves a lot of painstaking automation and detail work."
Stallones says he'll be joined onstage by the aforementioned Dompe and Geddes Gengras, playing not only AR cuts but some freshly-conceived jams from a new record he just got done tracking.
Stallones also discussed a forthcoming collaboration album between himself, M Geddes Gengras and classic reggae vocal group The Congos, recorded during a trip to Jamaica the duo took last year. The record, due to drop April 10, is part of the FRKWYS series curated by New York label RVNG Intl. which pairs prominent noise-makers of today with influential artists of the past. The Congos recorded their definitive Heart of the Congos album and a number of singles with reggae producer extraordinaire Lee "Scratch" Perry in the 1970s.
Stallones said recording the album with elder statesmen in the reggae homeland was beyond words.
"It was life-changing on every level," Stallones says. "Hard to really give a brief picture of it, we've been back since and it continues to deepen. It's a place of infinite music, the whole environment is music."
Check out a heater from that record on Soundcloud below.
Sun Araw, M. Geddes Gengras, Diva, Matthewdavid, and Marshstepper are scheduled to perform Wednesday, March 7, at Meat Market Garment Factory in Tempe.