The Wire


Black Spirituals premiere their new album

June 2018

Hear the Oakland duo's final release in full

With the news that US musicians Zachary Watkins and Marshall Trammell are about to end their experimental improvising outfit Black Spirituals, they deliver their last album Black Access/Black Axes.

“Marshall and I are six years deep,” writes Watkins in the album's sleevenotes. “Our first full length on Sige entitled Of Deconstruction was released in the fall of 2014. Black Access/Black Axes is almost four years in the making and during this time we travelled up and down the West and East coasts, the Southwest, Canada and all over Europe. We developed deep connections with communities in each centre along the way. Our experiences in New Mexico are especially memorable. Being stopped at border checkpoints and asked, ‘What kind of music do you sing?’ and answering: jazz. Our First Nations brothers and sisters hosted us, which has led to fruitful collaborations in Guelph, Canada, where we retraced our emancipatory roots and reestablished the collaborative thrust between African and indigenous peoples.

“The first of these three sessions placed Marshall and I in the depths of Seattle’s infamous Avast studios with the one and only Randall Dunn (engineer/producer). I was so nervous. At one moment during a ‘heavy’ riff Randall runs out frantically shouting, ‘Stop! The console is on fire!’ Apparently my guitar channel exploded the Trident. No more than ten minutes later we were rolling again. These tracks are represented on side C. This was also the moment where we met the band Earth, which later led to our first European tour! Love to Randall, Dylan, Adrianne and Don. When we returned from Europe, Marshall and I immediately tracked the set we developed with our trusted Oakland engineer and studio owner Andy Oswald at his own Secret Bathroom.

“Listening to the recorded tracks we compiled across these two critical sessions, I felt we needed one more ‘hit’. We teamed up with close friend and long time collaborator Norman Tealle and recorded the pieces comprising sides A and B. “Want” is an ambient recording I made of Slaton TX during cotton gin season. Dark West Texas nights in Ghost Town.

“Here we are. Simultaneous Solo Resonant Black Music.”

Black Spirituals were featured in The Wire 390. Subscribers can access the full article via the online archive. You can pre-order the LP via Sige.

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