Stick To The Mystical I
$ 22.00 USD
- So Let Them Come
- A Finger Pointing at the Moon
- Castle in the Sky
- Dust on the Windowsill
- Feel Good!
- This Is Just a Mountain Song
- Bicycle Knight
- Spirit of '95
- Groupon Massage
Written and composed by Mike Savino & Josiah Wolf. Savino wrote the lyrics and then sang them. Recorded and produced at GalleyTapes in Asheville, North Carolina by Savino. Mixed and Mastered by KRAMER. The Cover Art is a painting entitled “Nock 79” by JJ Cromer from Pound, VA with additional elements supplied by Savino & David Woodruff.
Mike Savino, the multi-instrumentalist and songwriter behind Tall Tall Trees, had big plans for getting through the pandemic with his sanity intact. He built a recording studio in the basement of his home in Asheville, North Carolina, setting himself up to lay down the tracks for a new album. To help see them across the finish line, Savino invited his longtime friend and member of indie rock mainstays WHY? Josiah Wolf to help him out. But everything changed once they set up their gear and started playing together.
“I had a bunch of songs, but we didn’t use any of those at all,” Savino remembers. “We were so into improvising that we just started recording until we stumbled onto something that excited us both and chased that. Josiah’s knack for quirky and experimental beats brought me into places I’d never go alone.”
Rather than fight the creative tide, Savino and Wolf went with the flow. What came out of these sessions at Savino’s home studio, affectionately called GalleyTapes, was Stick to the Mystical I, a playful collection of songs that pulls liberally from the pair’s collective influences — folk, jazz, pop, hip-hop, noise rock — and ties all those strands together into one delirious psychedelic bundle. Savino, with his heavily modified 6-string electric banjo dubbed the Banjotron 6500 is a master of looping textures, creating the perfect foil to Josiah’s explosive improvisatory drumming.
The bulk of the music on Stick to the Mystical I came about in spontaneous bursts, some of them built from first-take improvisations that they would then shape into the finished material heard on the album. It’s a new way of working for Savino, especially, who admits to being something of a perfectionist when it comes to his music.
“As a producer and songwriter who often self-records, I have an inclination to overwork the dough and try and shape it into something,” he says. “In this case, the dough just came out good. I was inspired by my recent work with the legendary producer Kramer, who ended up mixing and mastering the album. Working with Kramer in the studio was enlightening because he instantly deletes everything he doesn’t like. It’s a very Zen way of working that I’ve since adopted entirely.”
The proof of that is there for all to hear as Savino and Wolf quickly poured out an Art of Noise-like instrumental (“A Finger Pointing at the Moon”), nostalgic power pop (“Spirit of ’95”), broken beat balladry (“Feel Good!”), and a hot mixture of UK folk and downtempo sounds (“Sundrops”).
Even more impressive about Stick to the Mystical I is how Savino and Wolf maintained the uptempo spirit of the music amid the continued stream of horrors in the news and some personal pain that each man brought with them to the sessions. Before the sessions began, Savino was rattled by the sudden death of the neighbor who helped him build his home studio, and Wolf was coming to North Carolina in the wake of his marriage of 10 years ending. Both men clearly needed a cathartic release and found it in their friendship and creative spirits.
“We went through some heavy times together,” Savino admits. “We cried together. We had some bonding moments. And I’m not gonna lie; we got into some heavy psychedelics. It was beautiful and became the easiest record I’ve ever made.”
Savino and Wolf both hope that Stick to the Mystical I can do something similar for anyone who listens to it. To provide a little burst of light or a cooling spiritual salve during these increasingly dark days we are all living through. To stay connected to the spirit of creation and, when in doubt, stick to the mystical.