Los Angeles musician Chris Karman, who acts as the frontman for ornate, cosmic rockers Historian, feels gratefully out of step with current musical trends. “I’m obsessed with making albums in an era of streaming songs and playlists,” Karman explains. “I actually feel more comfortable when our music is a little out of step with its surroundings.”
His current rhythmic explorations actually began while lying on a beach on Maui while listening to “OK Computer” by Radiohead. His initial goal was to capture some of the strange magic which he experienced on that beach. Karman gathered together some like-minded musicians, and the band began to release music in 2013, offering up fans a smattering of acclaimed records that flirted between orchestral pop, folk rock and something a bit more experimental in nature.
The band is set to release their newest record, “Hour Hand,” on Feb. 15. The music which comprises its 10 tracks was recorded during the sessions that produced their 2018 LP, “Distant Wells,” but these particular songs feel and sound a bit different, acting as a more introspective companion piece to that record’s open-ended, cinematic revelations.
On recent single, “Quiet,” the band develops a dreamy pop atmosphere filled with complex string arrangements, hushed percussion and Karman’s empathic voice. The song seems to wrap around your senses, drowning out the realities of the surrounding world. Despite the haze of emotion which lays out over its landscape, its persuasive melody and dramatic strings become quite dizzying and vibrant in their intensity. There are myriad influences working their way through “Quiet,” but Karman and the band effortlessly place everything in its right place.