Sun Spar


For Sun Spar, Steven R. Smith assembled an ensemble version of his Ulaan Passerine project; while based in LA, the call went out to SF, Idaho, the Netherlands, and Italy for extra members. It’s helped to crack open his hermetic world a little, though Smith’s writing is so uniquely his own that he’s corralled these other voices effortlessly under these eight lambent compositions. Sometimes, what Smith does seems so simple to summarise – dusty, windswept melodies for guitar, informed both by desolate Americana and traditional Eastern European song – but there’s a depth to the emotional tenor of his material that very few reach. I can only think of Scott Tuma, really, as someone who comes close. By virtue of its expanded remit, Sun Spar is more welcoming, more open-armed – his interlocutors add spectral touches to these songs.

Jon Dale