Rosenau & Sanborn is a duo comprising Chris Rosenau (Volcano Choir, Collections Of Colonies Of Bees) and Nick Sanborn (Sylvan Esso, Megafaun, Made Of Oak). The pair have been friends and collaborators for years, however it wasn’t until they played an improv set together at 2015’s Eaux Claires music festival that they realized the potential of making a record together. Bluebird, the duo’s first project, was recorded in 2017 at a studio in North Carolina. It’s due next month, but today we get to hear its lead single “Sharon.”
Recorded in an open-air room with the doors open to nature, the project incorporates rainfall and other ambient sounds. On “Sharon,” a flickering pitch-shifted sample of Sharon Van Etten’s voice underscores loosely timed plucky acoustic triads. That trilling creates a feeling of silence, or absence, that becomes like its own character in the environment they’ve created. Harmonically, the plucks, slides, and hammer-ons build upon each other. They’re allowed to completely ring out on the strings, supplying an additional sense of expansive space. A warbling synth tone appears sprinkled throughout, almost bubbling to the surface of that at times overwhelming silence.
Sanborn offers some background on the song:
“Sharon” showed up at about the halfway point in making this record and it was the first moment I felt like I understood what we were actually making. I had been subtly using my own voice on most of what we had recorded, but it wasn’t until I used someone else’s voice that I started to really understand the width of space a human voice could inhabit in this context; how Sharon’s voice could ground the piece in a certain humanity, how the act of sampling itself can elicit a sense of comfort, knowing, or nostalgia. This idea would end up affecting the entirety of the album, changing the way we worked and the music we made for the better.
Check out “Sharon” below, along with tour dates in the duo’s dual home bases of Wisconsin and North Carolina.
08/09 – Milwaukee, WI @ Colectivo Back Room
08/10 – Eau Claire, WI @ Oxbeaux III
08/11 – Minneapolis, MN @ The Icehouse
09/05 – Raleigh, NC @ Hopscotch Music Festival
09/06 – Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight
Bluebird is out 7/23 on Psychic Hotline. Pre-order it here.