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. Out today is the first single to be taken from it, Desert Flower, featuring a video directed by Rainbow Tunnel. Watch the clip here.
“Alison wants me to try therapy,” says Alexi. “She’s a therapist herself, but I’ve never been to one. The idea of going makes me very uncomfortable. I don’t like being vulnerable in front of strangers. So, instead of confronting my discomfort, I look for an easier path. It’s never easier and it’s always unsatisfying or destructive. “Desert Flower” is about avoidance and fear impeding personal growth and the deepening of relationships.
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.”
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.
To Be A Cloud is released 2nd June 2023 on limited green vinyl, super-heavyweight audiophile vinyl, CD and digital. Pre-order here.