It almost sounds like a pitch for a screenplay. European jazz guitarist travels to New York and answers and ad for an open room posted by an experimental electronic music producer. Kindred spirits who followed very different musical paths, the two hit it off and end up creating an album of music together. Only it’s not a screenplay. It is the story of Munich-born and Zurich-based guitarist Max Frankl and Brooklyn-based Christian Banks aka Walrus Ghost. At the time Frankl moved in, Banks was about to release his debut album Uplifting Themes for the Naysayer. Despite striking up an instant friendship, it took time for their mutual appreciation of each other’s approaches to writing & playing music to grow. But, grow it did. First a song, then a handful of tracks, and finally a complete album called Avenues and Remembrances which will be released later this month.
“When we first met, we could both feel a great connection between the two of us. Some weeks later we recorded some music together, which was one of the greatest experiences I had while playing and recording with a lot of different musicians in New York. The things I treasure in Christian`s music have a lot to do with my compositional approach towards music: I like warm and rich environments that bring a particular quality to the music that is sometimes lacking in hectic day to day life: calmness, silence, and tranquility.” – Max Frankl
The result of this transatlantic musical serendipity is a beautiful shimmer of sure-handed acoustic & electric guitar and contemplative melodies suspended in a warm quiescence of saturated distortion and textural ambiance. It is unhurried music with a subdued incandescent energy that exhilarates even as it invites the listener to slow down, linger, and connect. As a foregleam of the album, have a listen to the song “Here”, a stand-out piece which became pivotal early on in the evolution of the project.
“”Here” was actually one of the first tracks that Max initially wrote and sent over that stuck out to me. It was one of the reasons the whole project happened. Mostly because when I write solo as Walrus Ghost, I would have never come up with anything like this. And while I feel like it diverges a bit from the other tracks, it’s because of this that it’s one of the most important for me personally. Once I began writing and building up the song around Max’s foundation, I knew we had something, as an entire project, moving in an interesting direction.” – Christian Banks, aka Walrus Ghost
Avenues and Remembrances will be available April 13 from Seattle-based Hush Hush Records.