Zarasutra – The Forest for the Trees (2017)

this time zara brought her own acoustic guitar over — a seagull that records well. i started out thinking i would be adding more musical grace notes after playing a piano part on the last song on UNCERTAIN ASSERTIONS, only to end up contributing nothing on that side of things.

not that that’s a bad thing. you don’t always need bells and whistles. think of the early cat power albums — part of what makes them powerful is how naked and direct the recordings are. you almost feel like you’re eavesdropping on something you shouldn’t be hearing.

even without any embellishment, i think there’s a bit more variety in the songs this time out. you even get a few ukulele-driven tunes. and who’s gonna argue with a ukulele? i mean, you could try, but you’ll never win an argument with a uke. there’s no way.

if you liked the first album, you’ll like this one. i might have done a better mixing job this time around too, even if it was arguably tougher to mix these songs. especially with the ukulele songs, i had to ride the faders a lot to try and compensate for some big volume spikes when the playing got more aggressive, while keeping it dynamic and not taking the power away. adding a lot of compression to even that out was going to dull the edges too much.

with a voice as dynamic as zara’s, the best thing you can do is try to stay out of the way and let the magic come through. the hope is that i did that with the first album, and again here.