“We the Sun” is the third single from the recently formed band “Purple Witch of Culver,” which features saxophonist / vocalist Sarah Safaie and producer / multi-instrumentalist Evan Taylor. The song—just under 3 minutes, was originally an experiment in stacked acoustic drums and percussion juxtaposed with vintage synthesis and sonic experimentation. The spontaneity of Taylor’s instrumental opened a floodgate for Safaie to paint colorful imagery with a tribal pulse; a mantra easy to latch on to, composed of three-part vocal texture and soaring counter melodies drenched in gritty analog echo. “We write in tandem yet we zero in on different aspects sonically” says Safaie, “It allows us to “hit it and quit it”, so to speak. Working all analog allows that organic aspect of the creative process. It’s like playing Candyland as opposed to Nintendo.”
The intimate nature of the poetry set to an expansive large ensemble soundscape sounds like little else populating the current musical landscape. It’s a reflection of the diverse influences both Safaie and Taylor brought to the alpha state inspired recording session at which it was birthed.
Raised on Bebop and straight-ahead Jazz, before an obsession with Parliament-Funkadelic (the other Jazz kids took to calling her “funky child”) illuminated other musical avenues. Safaie moved to New York City out of high school to attend the New School for Jazz. While there, she once again ventured out of the traditional Jazz world, discovering the city’s vibrant experimental Noise and warehouse art scenes.
Ultimately it was her involvement with the legendary St. Mark’s Church Poetry Project in the East Village she says is the biggest influence on her contribution lyrically to Purple Witch of culver. She cites seminal poets Eileen Myles, Alice Notley, and Bernadette Mayer as her chief inspirations, noting that all three “have changed the way I approach writing.”
A move to Los Angeles in January 2020 followed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, led her to finally distill these disparate influences into something of her own.
“I went to so many shows just absorbing, but now that I’m out here, and especially now that we’re in this era, it just feels like the right time to put it all together and put something new out there.”
Shortly after her arrival in L.A., she met and felt an immediate musical connection with Taylor, whose credits and list of collaborators include Jimmy Destri (Blondie), Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads, Modern Lovers), Mike Watt, Theresa Wayman (Warpaint), Money Mark (Beastie Boys), in addition to running the LA-based label Loantaka Records (Sofia Bolt, Jess Cornelius).
Most notably for Safaie, Taylor was part of the extended Parliament family, having worked as production partner with Bernie Worrell, the keyboard wizard of Parliament-Funkadelic, and collaborator with Talking Heads.
The song emerged out of an experiment with superimposition of rhythm and frequency and blossomed into a narrated exploration that evokes imagery of soaring, surrounded by colorful sonics. The piece was recorded in its entirety in one day at Loantaka Sound studios in Downtown Los Angeles. Taylor and Safaie continued to work with their prefered all-analog recording medium.
“We the Sun” will be released on Taylor’s Loantaka Records with plans to release more music in early 2021.