The Saxophones - To Be a Cloud
- The Mist
- Boy Crazy
- In My Defence
- Speak for You
- Conversation Soon
- Goddess in Repose
- Margarita Mix
- Desert Flower
Returning after three years, the husband and wife duo of Alexi Erenkov and Alison Alderdice aka. The Saxophones have announced the arrival of their third album, To Be A Cloud, for 2nd June 2023.
The album itself was recorded at Phil Elverum’s (The Microphones, Mount Eerie) Unknown Studio in Anacortes, WA last autumn. A former Catholic church where the pair lived during 24/7 recording sessions, time was no object as they experimented and developed the sound of the record. Its magical setting and ample space provided natural acoustics for Alexi’s arresting vocals which were recorded live to 24-track tape, suspending them in an ambiguous historical and chronological context between analogue and digital. Enhanced by Alison’s percussion alongside the bass and keys of Richard Laws, together they made the most of the studio’s many instruments which fill out and bookend their exploration of the billions of years of evolution that have led to this moment in time.
“The title was inspired by a passage of Zen monk Thich Nat Hanh’s writing in No Death, No Fear which both calms my own fear and leaves me with doubts,” explains Alexi, of the album channelling its influence of comforting yet disturbing limbo. “He uses clouds as a metaphor to illustrate the impermanence of all things, suggesting clouds are no different from people in their fleeting nature. Suffering arises when we try to preserve a person, a moment, or an experience and fail to recognize that all things are both fleeting and cyclical. Hanh contends the cloud does not die, it simply changes form, and if we look deeply, we can see the cloud in the rain.”
Now, led by Hanh’s pearls of wisdom, The Saxophones offer a further extension of grappling with mortality and the meaning of existence – this time via the second coming of parenthood. Whilst their melancholic debut Songs of the Saxophones was written amid the incessant rain of a northern Californian winter aboard the boat they lived on, and swells of emotion lapped upon buoyant follow-up Eternity Bay, their nocturnal third’s cyclical nature looks at love (fostering and growing familial and romantic feelings that eventually transform and fade with time), art and passing creativity, and self-reflecting as they consider the life cycle of raising their two young children. Written in their family home between calm moments once the kids had gone to bed, To Be A Cloud is attuned to the peaceful bay of Inverness, California where Alison’s family has lived for several generations. “It’s where we are most at home and creative,” Alexi says. “There, the ocean and nearby beaches are endlessly inspiring.” So integral to the album, Shell Beach in Tomales Bay is also where the artwork photo (see below) was taken. “I love Alison’s expression - direct eye contact from the mysterious beauty… like the cover of a Martin Denny album.”
Whether bringing the saxophone back into spotlight through instrumental solos and live performances, or delving deeper as they continue to explore the process of nurturing a new record as mindful as they do their own children, every step taken may be further from the start and yet, To Be A Cloud is another note closer to a reawakening of more good things come.