Chris Simpson used to be known as Zookeeper. Now the Austin singer-songwriter calls himself Mountain Time. What’s the difference? Well, he still specializes in atmospheric alt-Americana and folk-rock. He still has a way of setting a gently fingerpicked guitar and a tenderly sandy vocal against a loose, ramshackle arrangement. But on his first release under his new handle, the sounds and styles tend to be a little bigger and wider and slightly more cinematic, with woozy horns, poppy backup vocals and looping guitars sharing space in his reverb-rich soundscapes. He’s definitely worth your time. Whatever name he’s going by.
THE PRESS RELEASE: “In the aftermath of the dissolution of adored emo / indie rock bands Mineral and The Gloria Record, songwriter Chris Simpson took a step back from making music for the first time since his mid-teens. This period became a critical time of exploration which fueled a longing for simplification, both personally and creatively. It was during this period that a more refined approach to his creative process was born. Mountain Time, both a reference to timeliness (or lack thereof) and a childhood amongst the natural beauty of Colorado evolved from Simpson’s previous solo effort Zookeeper as the most fitting moniker for the latest project. With the transition, while the process and approach of creating Music for Looking Animals became more autonomous, the drive and ultimate desire to create remained rooted within many of the same wells of inspiration that fueled previous incarnations of Simpson’s songwriting. For Simpson, much of what the record is externalizing are larger questions embedded within the natural passing of time. While Music for Looking Animals is an attempt at simplification, it is hardly minimal in terms of lyrical and musical depth.”