Single Premiere: “Coloring of Lake/Sky,” by Elijah McLaughlin Ensemble

The latest single from Elijah McLaughlin Ensemble’s upcoming third LP on Astral Spirits is a truly epic three-part suite that shows just how far the Chicago guitarist has really come since his 2020 debut.

Set for release on March 24th, III features McLaughlin’s 6 and 12-string acoustic fingerpicking blending seamlessly into a rich landscape of cellos, dulcimers, analog synths, pianos and field recordings. The artist’s music has obviously evolved from his last two records, but it is fully blooming here into an entirely new beast, thanks to the subtle spiritual influences of modernist composers, like Terry Riley, Laraaji and Pauline Oliveros.

On this LP, McLaughlin is joined by Katinka Kleijn on cello and effects, Adler Scheidt on piano, Jason Toth on upright bass and Joel Styzens on hammered dulcimer. Together, they operate as a solid rumbling unit that could easily improvise freely for hours on end without ever losing steam.

The album’s closing track, “Coloring of Lake/Sky,” is a sprawling eighteen-minute piece made up of three smaller sections that are each colored by rivulets of groaning cellos and zephyrs of trickling pianos that weave around McLaughlin’s woodsy barrage of fingerpicking and hammered strums. The track’s distinctive movements ebb and flow, sometimes swelling with a bustling whirling dervish-like energy, and other times hovering with a calmed and meditative stillness. It’s a monumental recording and a damn fine climax to an exceedingly moving record. Check it out for yourself:

Click here to preorder your copy of Elijah McLaughlin Ensemble’s III today. You’ll be so ever glad you did.



Published by Record Crates United

Keith Hadad, the creator and manager of RCU, has been a contributing writer to Elmore Magazine and and maintains a regular column, “Keith Hadad’s Choice,” in Blicker magazine. His writing has also appeared in the Smithsonian Folkways' Guest Blog and the Optical Sounds Fanzine. Also, please check out the blog's super-active Instagram account, @recordcratesunited for daily blurb-styled music reviews.

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