Over the course of seven years, Los Angeles outfit Historian, led by Chris Karman, has released five records, which veered in composition from complicated space rock to minimalist acoustics and subtle electronic atmospherics. Often mentioned in the same breath as bands like The National and Sufjan Stevens, the group never bows to trending musical fashion or of-the-moment theatricality. Their work is an amalgam of extensive influences and the intricate application of numerous aesthetics and rhythmic experimentation.
It’s only been a handful of month’s since the release of their last record, “Hour Hand,” in February, but Karman is set to release a new album, “Spiral Again,” tomorrow. This acoustic-based collection finds him delving into a much more personal headspace than any previous releases, opting for a balance between the ethereal flourishes scattered through his rockier work and the stripped-back acoustic force common to records like “Songs of Love and Hate” by Leonard Cohen and Bruce Springsteen’s “Nebraska.”
“I have a tendency to spin out mentally and ruminate over things,” Karman explains. “Spiral Again is really my attempt at capturing the feeling I get, alone in the middle of the night. There’s an air of mystery, sadness, longing and tinge of joy. It’s a fairly indescribable moment that I feel I was able to tap and sustain for an entire record.”
On recent single, “Another Chance,” he blends the compelling strum of an acoustic guitar with gauzy rhythmic embellishments. Drums eventually shuffle in from the periphery, adding additional layers through which Karman’s mesmerizing voice weaves its emotional lattice. The track feels intangible, as if its wispy tendrils would slip right through your fingers, but it also possesses a strange heft that keeps it from disappearing as it stretches out for its audience. Another testament to Karman’s ability to merge the ephemeral and corporeal aspects of his melodic perspectives, “Another Chance” offers us another avenue through which we can connect with him on an incredibly personal level.