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Now Hear This: Carm | Carm

The veteran horn player's sweeping, stylishly inventive album is truly bold as brass.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The music of ​Carm features horns in roles typically reserved for drums, guitars, and voices, while also escaping the genre categorizations reserved for music featuring an instrumentalist as bandleader. It is not jazz or classical music, nor is it a soundtrack. This is contemporary popular music that features a sound normally used as a background color and texture as the unabashed lead voice.

According to Carm, aka CJ Camerieri, “It started with the question: ‘What kind of record would my trumpet-playing heroes from the past make today?’ I believe they would want to work with the best producers, beat makers, song-writers, and singers to create new, truly culturally relevant music, and that’s what I sought to do with this project.” Produced in Minneapolis by ​Ryan Olson​ (​Polica​, L​izzo​) and featuring collaborations with ​Sufjan Stevens​, ​Justin Vernon ​(​Bon Iver​), Y​o La Tengo​, ​Shara Nova​, ​Mouse on Mars​, ​Francis and the Lights​ and many others. It is a completely unique sound that additionally serves as a survey of the collaborations that have come to define the artist’s career thus far.

Says Vernon, “I truly believe there isn’t a more accomplished brass player in the entire world of music. And this is way more than a ‘horn’ record. It’s a discovery of new heights with what is possible in creating music.”

The album begins with an orchestral brass choir of French horns, which quickly gives way to a piano sample from Francis, as Stevens and ​Lupin​ combine voices over a lush bed of horns to sing Song of Trouble. The album bookends with the same piano sample used as a springboard to an iconic lyric by Vernon in the album closer Land. Between these two generation-defining artists we have upward sweeping melodies and fanfares reminiscent of ​Ennio Morricone. The acutely original sound of ​Georgia Hubley​ and ​Ira Kaplan ​of Yo La Tengo in Already Gone give way to the virtuoso sound of Nova’s voice. A more experimental path emerges before the strings from yMusic bring us back to the piano sample that started the record. Instead of recycling well-trodden sounds, Carm offers a respite for those seeking an original voice.”

Photo by Shervin Lainez.