Saturday, October 13, 2012

Kazyak announces regional CD release:
See the Forest, See the Trees

The newest record from the Minneapolis band Kazyak marks a fundamental shift in both mindset and lineup for the group. What was once a full-time touring trio making groovy music for festivalgoers has morphed into a mature art project with alternative indie-folk ilk. The music is a nostalgic revival and listeners can hear instantly that it was created by authentic craftsmen. The band will release See the Forest, See the Trees on January 5, 2013 at the 331 Club in NE Minneapolis.

Songwriter/guitarist Peter Frey has always waded in the pool of midwestern music. As a kid, he absorbed lofty sonic architecture from the likes of 12 Rods, Fat Kid Wednesdays, and Tiki Obmar, and more recently, Halloween Alaska and Bon Iver. On the new record, Frey spits it all back out in his own way: The warmth of a nylon-string guitar blended around an expressive falsetto, the electronic drum sequences layered beneath a live Ludwig kit, and an acoustic banjo processed through circuit-bent guitar pedals.
After founding bassist Danny Vitali moved to California in the spring of 2011, Kazyak’s future was uncertain. After a period of creative hibernation, Frey wrote the songs of See the Forest, See the Trees in the Great Room of his childhood home. Inspired by the snowy oaks and icy pond in the backyard, the album’s music and narrative are about isolation, expression, recovery, and patience.

The album’s title is a variation on the old adage of “not seeing the forest for the trees.” With this new album, Frey strived to simultaneously mind the finer details and the big picture. Each song is a snapshot, a thread in a tapestry, and though you never get the sense that there’s a rigid theme or set of rules to the story, you can’t help but feel that each song is connected on multiple levels. With an arc that builds in your chest, “Pieces of My Map” expresses the vulnerability one would feel if lost in the woods. Track two, “To the Manner Born,” is a love story gone wrong that explodes at exactly the right moments. Every track is infectious, warm and overflowing.

Frey still relies on friend musicians to bring the tunes to life in the studio. As the album's drummer and engineer, Brett Bullion's (Tarlton, Zoo Animal) contribution is significant, and together with bassist Jef Sundquist (Tungsten, Chastity Brown), the rhythm section sounds like an orchestra recording a dramatic film score. Plenty of space is left for the real orchestra of course, a folk match-up made of banjoist Justin Lansing (Okee Dokee Brothers), violinist Becky Gaunt and cellist Greg Byers.

See the Forest, See the Trees is a solid statement that the lineup and mindset adjustments aren’t the end for Kazyak. Instead, See the Forest, See the Trees is a new beginning: It is Kazyak, born into color.