BTV071 Unwed Sailor : Circles

Unwed Sailor
Circles (btv071)
Buy Online | cd / 2xLP
Track listing:
1 Circles I : Mist
2 Circles II : Mesa
Johnathon Ford went to Bloomington, IN to work on some remixes of an out-of-print Unwed Sailor 7”, The Magic Hedge, in the spring of 2005 with Dan Burton (Early Day Miners, Ativin). The two had previously worked together on the first Unwed Sailor full-length, The Faithful Anchor,and the Stateless collaboration between Unwed Sailor and Burton’s Early Day Miners. There were good vibes in the Burton basement studio and the remixes were quickly engulfed by the goal to finish the new full-length, The White Ox. Ford’s bass, guitar, keyboard, and percussion parts were joined by Burton‘s guitars, extra bass from Phillip Blackwell (Questions in Dialect), and drummer Matt Griffin (Early Day Miners) to mix up their medicine drawing on ambient production influences from Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois (with whom Dan Burton had interned). The Circles ep is a sprawling 16+ minute opus with two separate movements, “Mist” and “Mesa”, originally intended to be part of The White Ox, but strong enough and different enough to stand alone and precede the full-length’s arrival in late August. UK artist James Marsh was enlisted for the cover artwork for both Circles and The White Ox. His distinct mystical images have also graced the album covers of every one of legendary band Talk Talk’s releases.

Born in Seattle in 1998 at the tender age of intent, Unwed Sailor is helmed by Oklahoma-born songwriter Johnathon Ford. The basis for the instrumental project came into being while Ford was still writing with Seattle luminaries Roadside Monument; pulling toward a bass guitar oriented sound, the songs he’d begun to craft did not wholly feel right for Roadside Monument, thus the unbeknownst predestined forming of Unwed Sailor. Not aiming for Unwed Sailor to fall into the regular confines of a typical band, Ford’s ever-evolving cast and crew has been tirelessly composed over the years of good friends and company, as the band has since been relocated and based out of cities across the United States including Chicago, New York, Jackson, MS, Little Rock, AR, and back now to Seattle. With over 13 U.S. tours and 4 in Europe, the band has traveled almost as much as it’s evolved.

Since their 1998 debut release Firecracker, the band has continued to endeavor side door studies into the pictures behind sound, opening myriad avenues of instrumental excavation on their first full-length The Faithful Anchor to short-film soundtracks for filmmaker Chris Bennett, resulting in Stateless (a full-band collaboration with Early Day Miners) and the music to For Johnathan alongside bands like The Album Leaf and Tarantel. In 2003, the shape of Unwed Sailor changed dramatically as the sound ensued less a standard suite of songs, becoming more like a growing creature, cinematically operated and tell-tale both in its sonic and packaged presentation. The resulting album was recorded and released as The Marionette and the Music Box; music set to tell the painted story of a lonely little marionette in search of a cherished, lost music box. Describing the picturesque rushes and swells of a rather unique orchestra, Ford has become a maestro in his own rite, leading his band through pieces as suited for concert halls as they are the hot, impassioned stages of dark nightclubs from city to city. And as a live performance, the music is only more chaotic in its finely tuned restraints; here audiences are treated to a powerful performance, played out as though on the screen, and walking away from the shows as though from a theater, excited and curious about the world again. On stage, Unwed Sailor as people melt away, becoming nobody and everybody at the same time; a two-hearted octopus with every arm working twice as hard.

The band toured four times during 2005: a brief stint in the spring with three keyboard players, bass, and drums; a European tour with Burton and Ford playing as both Unwed Sailor and Early Day Miners and collaborating to perform their Stateless material, August and September as a five piece with keyboards, two guitars, bass, and drums; and the fourth during November and December as a four piece with two guitars with boomerang pedals, effectively doubling to four guitar parts, bass, and drums with members of Louisville bands Parlour (Temporary Residence) and Elliott. Johnathon Ford has recently moved back to Seattle and has made some final additions to the sounds of The White Ox. He’ll briefly hit the road with Ester Drang (Jade Tree) this spring and take a Seattle-based Unwed Sailor on the road to both the U.S. and Europe later in the Spring and Summer. Circles marks the return to recording for Unwed Sailor as the first new material in over 3 years and will be released in early 2006 as the band embarks on the lonesome, always stretching road.