A veteran band leader of the last twenty years, and a songwriter of considerable output, Adam Busch now presents his first solo record “River Of Bricks”, after a career spent at the helm of art rock ensembles The Curious Digit (Jagjaguwar), Manishevitz (Jagjaguwar) and Sonoi (Meno Mosso).
Busch began writing "River Of Bricks" in a domestic haze, having halted band activity in favor of spending time at home with his newborn son. However, what was intended as a hiatus from music became a free pass for trying new ideas, with no external pressure to produce for an ensemble. Many of the songs emerged during a period spent studying guitar with African music scholar Nathaniel Braddock, who began teaching him a variety of finger style forms by way of repertoire including African, American Primitive, and British Folk icons Bert Jansch and Davy Graham.
While “River Of Bricks” has a gentler tone than Busch’s previous releases, it’s a more exploratory effort, resonating deeply in imagery and modal expression, while playfully experimenting with minimal arrangements.
Recording began in Chicago during the spring of 2013 at Benjamin Balcom’s Minbal studio and continued in Phoenix with longtime collaborator and Boxhead Ensemble founder Michael Krassner. Busch called on former Manishevitz players to flush out his compositions, with percussion contributions from Joe Adamik (Califone, Iron and Wine) and guitar, bass and keyboards from Wil Hendricks (Boxhead Ensemble). Fred Longberg-Holm and Justin Amolsch added cello and French horn, respectively on tracks “River of Bricks”, “Mother”, “End of an Arrow”, and “Bedouin Shaker”.
The result is ten intimate and immediate tracks, somehow simultaneously warm and stark, informed by, but not restricted by time spent alone. Much of the album channels Saharan timbre and British-folk traditions turned a bit on their side, subverted in favor of airy impressionism and continental drift. Songs such as “Tiger”, “Sister”, and the album’s closer, “Butterfly” naturally tend toward psychedelia, others, including the album’s title track and “Ruby”, burst open and break out with determined breath.
There is a spiritual kinship to records Busch continues to reference - Robert Wyatt’s “Dondestan”, Tom Verlaine’s “Warm and Cool”, Caetano Veloso’s “Transa” and “Joia" but "River of Bricks" exists on its own turf, carefully measured, unhurried and focused, marking a new chapter in Busch’s twenty years as a songwriter restlessly perfecting his craft.
3/14 @ MOHA Austin Cultural Exchange/Self Sabotage Records showcase. improvised set with Lisa Cameron / Ingebrigt Hiker Flaten (Austin)
3/15 @ Beerland Super Secret Records Showcase (Austin)
3/24 @ Constellation BOXHEAD ENSEMBLE w/Michael Krassner/Jim Becker/Rick Rizzo/Tim Rutili/Adam Busch (Chicago)
"The overall sound is welcoming, warm and comfortable, with Busch's unpretentious vocals drawing the listener in and the gentle melodies keeping them around and encouraging further listening"- KCRW
“The record’s ten songs encompass the many things that have made Busch’s music with his old bands Manishevitz and Sonoi appealing: rustic acoustic picking, glowing brass fanfares, Eno-esque atmospherics, and power-pop waltzing. And he replaces the jittery qualities of his earlier work with a warm sense of wonder—it’s not only the most accomplished record of his career, it’s the most appealing”- Chicago Reader