Phi-Psonics Shares “An Offering”

Phi-Psonics Shares “An Offering”

Phi-Psonics is a meditative, deeply soulful, immersive jazz group from Los Angeles, led by bassist Seth Ford-Young and featuring Sylvain Carton on woodwinds, Mitchell Yoshida on electric piano, and Josh Collazo on drums. Their beautiful music draws on jazz and classical influences together with Ford-Young’s own musical experiences, relationships, and his introduction to spirituality, yoga and philosophy at a young age. Along the way they create something uniquely their own, sharing beautiful landscapes for your spirit to roam freely within.

Octava is their second album and like their debut The Cradle (GOND046) it’s emotional, introspective, and unusual approach to meditative jazz offers us a beautiful space for uplifting contemplation and wields a quiet power to create a spiritually inspiring world of timeless, warm melodies and instrumental exploration for the deep listener and thoughtful voyager. Seth explains: “This album is about change and evolution to a higher version of ourselves. Understanding this journey through the idea of ascending a musical scale and arriving at a new, higher octave is natural especially for a musician. We move, struggle, and work through the various steps or tones and arrive at the octave a new version of ourselves, still the same person, but vibrating at a higher frequency.

Originally from Washington DC area, Ford-Young moved to California in the early 90s and fell in love with the sounds of the upright bass and the music of Charles Mingus, John and Alice Coltrane, and Duke Ellington along with Bach, Chopin, Pärt, and Satie. He immersed himself in music, and keen to learn, combined intense personal study with collaborations, tours, and recordings with artists such as Tom Waits, Beats Antique, and John Vanderslice. In 2010 he moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Los Angeles hills and continued his explorations, starting to compose and develop the music that would find such beautiful expression in his Phi-Psonics project.
It is music that has found expression with a tight group of long term collaborators. each bringing their own unique personalities to the Phi-Psonics sound. Seth has known Sylvain Carton (woodwinds) for almost 20 years; originally jamming together in the San Francisco Bay Area, they now live close to each other in LA. Sylvain brings a wellspring of different timbres and colours to the band, as many of the songs are written with a particular range and instrument in mind. Mitchell Yoshida (keys) has been a collaborator for the last decade, bringing a love of romantic harmony, African rhythms and modes, and open harmonies with ‘consonant dissonances’ that add real flavour to the music. Finally drummer Josh Collazo has been playing with Seth for the last 12 years, and  whether it’s on the road, in the studio, on stage, or writing together, Josh brings maximum spirit and minimum ego to the group as well as the sweet and warm tone of his drums, and a deft minimalist approach that adds the final layer to the band’s beautiful music.

The album opens with Invocation as we embark on our journey, acknowledging the past and looking ahead. The repeated melody at the end feels ancient but also contains an energy that is driving forward. An Offering is a humble but beautiful tune full of texture and colour featuring melodic interplay between the horn and keys. In part inspired by old Irish music, We Walk in the Gardens of OurAncestors shows clear eyed reverence for those who came before us as we walk through their gardens. Green Dreams is a tender, gentle love song dedicated to Seth’s wife. Centred around the tuning of Collazo’s drums, Where We’ve Been is a meditative group improvisation that shows Phi-Psonics’ deep musical connection. Lunar Reflections is a romantic ode to nature that draws inspiration from where Seth lives: a green oasis within the sprawling cityscapes of LA. Becoming draws on memories of the dark days of 2020 but this was a period that was also full of revelation, beauty and light, and this song elevates and uplifts us. Finally New You offers hope of change both individual and collective. 

This then is Octava from the brilliant Seth Ford-Young and Phi-Psonics: Delivering a self-contained world built from the familiar materials of jazz and improvisation, but assembled in new, and unexpected ways to create a deeply beautiful, inviting space for relaxation and contemplation. 

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