Purple Witch of Culver is a Los Angeles-based duo featuring saxophonist Sarah Safaie and producer/multi-instrumentalist Evan Taylor. Their latest single, “Malibu’s Passing” switches gears for the moment and finds the duo exploring a plaintive, ruminating path, resulting in a surrealist ‘60s surf ballad, with touches of melancholic ‘70s cinema scores. Malibu’s Passing is being released digitally by Taylor’s own Echo Park-based record label Loantaka Records (Jess Cornelius, Sofia Bolt).
The lyrics underscore this haunting yet beautiful balance, with Safaie’s almost David Lynchian-esque verses offering both a warning that humanity is at an unprecedented turning point and a clarion call to learn from our collective mistakes and make changes to avoid our destruction.
All the while, these sentiments are lifted and underscored with smokey-lounge style organ runs, blazing surf guitar touches and Taylor’s somber Brian Wilson-esque backing vocals —as well as Safaie’s signature baritone saxophone sound —further adding to the aching urgency of affair
It sounds like the climaxing moments of a classic cult film, one that leaves you both hopeful for the protagonists and concerned about their ultimate fate, as a lone flugelhorn grows in volume to end the proceedings with a sense of ‘70s sitcom uneasiness.
Ever the analog purists, the duo built the song on a tape reel that traveled between several recording studios, including Studio G in Brooklyn, 4th Street Recording in Santa Monica and finally reaching completion in Taylor’s downtown LA studio Loantaka Sound, where the band is currently working on a full length album.
Born out of an informal recording session in the summer of 2020, which was meant merely to commit some of Safaie’s recent ideas to tape, the pair found an immediate, improvisational chemistry and decided to turn the project into a full fledged band.
Their first offering was the single ”Trig” which was featured on NPR’s All Songs Considered and served as the band’s declaration of purpose, showcasing Safaie’s biting, politically-infused lyrics and free-form saxophone bursts cross-pollinating with Taylor’s stacked funk and rhythmic vamps.
The single was followed in short order by “We The Sun” and “Eulogy for a Sunbeam”, both of which built upon that initial formula, establishing a sound that sounds like little else populating the current musical landscape.Malibu’s Passing. Malibu’s Passing.