By Alex HudsonPsychic Temple II is billed as a Chris Schlarb album, but it's by no means a strictly solo affair, since it finds the California composer joined by a huge array of collaborators on a diverse range of tracks. The album is out on July 16 through Asthmatic Kitty.
Among the contributors are Sufjan Stevens (who sings on a cover of the Beach Boys song "'Til I Die"), Ikey Owens (the Mars Volta), Nedelle Torrisi (Cryptacize), Ray Raposa (Castanets), Paul Masvidal (Cynic), Sarah Negahdari (Silversun Pickups' live band), John Clement Wood (the Black Keys' live band), and Devin Hoff (formerly of Xiu Xiu).
In addition to the aforementioned Beach Boys cover, the album features versions of Frank Zappa's "Sofa No. 2" and Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out." Elsewhere, opener "Seventh House" utilizes elements of Neil Young's "Will to Love" and Sheena Easton's "Sugar Walls" (written by Prince). According to a press release, other inspirations include the Isley Brothers, the Alan Parsons Project, Bill Evans and poet William Blake.
The album was recorded over a period of more than a year at Sounds Are Active in Long Beach. It follows Schlarb's 2010 album Psychic Temple.
"I love interesting juxtapositions, where you bring together people from different communities," Schlarb said in a statement. "It seems like a crazy combination of people, but they're all just musicians. Why not bring them all together? It may not always work, but it's always worth reaching further."
Listen to Schlarb's version of "'Til I Die" — which features Stevens, Torrisi, Raposa, Owens and others — below the tracklist. Pre-order the album here, although note that the 180-gram white vinyl version mentioned on Bandcamp doesn't appear to be available yet.
Psychic Temple II:
1. Seventh House 2. The Starry King Hears Laughter 3. Solo In Place 4. Bird In The Garden 5. 'Til I Die 6. She Is The Golden World 7. Steppin' Out 8. All I Want Is Time 9. Sofa No. 2 10. NO TSURAI 11. Hyacinth Thrash Quarter