American multi-instrumentalist Steven R. Smith has been releasing a steady stream of solo records for well over a decade as well as playing in various improvisational groups including Thuja, Hala Strana, and most recently Ulaan Khol. This music has ranged from sparse solo guitar improvisations to Hala Strana’s reworkings of Eastern European traditional folk tunes to the dense, psychedelic fuzz guitar workouts of Ulaan Khol. On his latest full-length solo release, Cities, Smith combines the composed with the improvisational and the result is a beautiful and desolate collection of songs evoking a crumbling landscape reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy’s novel “The Road” or the films of Hungarian director Béla Tarr.
Cities was recorded in Smith’s Worstward Studios on all analog equipment and features a wide variety of instrumentation including fretted spike fiddle, baritone psaltery, electric and nylon stringed guitars, cello, melodica, electric piano and organ.
Musically, Smith’s work over the years could be summed up as a struggle to contain a series of opposites: light and darkness, sorrow and joy, despair and hope. It is this balance, or at least the effort to create or maintain this balance, that informs Cities as well. Smith has recorded for numerous labels including Important Records, Catsup Plate, Soft Abuse, Emperor Jones, Last Visible Dog, Jewelled Antler, Digitalis and Darla. Cities is his first release for Immune Recordings.
“one of America’s great hidden artists.” - Dusted Magazine
“Smith’s cinematic sound taps into a huge well of American music and simultaneously forges ahead with fruitful experimentation, clearing new ground.” - Ptolemaic Terrascope
“Smith [has a] deft ability to extort haunting beauty from the strings of modified instruments, bowing, scraping and plucking his way through” - Boomkat
“a rich and washed out soundscape of wheezing melancholy melodies all wrapped up in a dense sonic fog...plenty dark and enigmatic, lovely and mysterious.” - Aquarius
Cities is pressed on high quality virgin vinyl at RTI and is released in an edition of 900 copies for the world. Included is a free MP3 download coupon.