Legendary NYC Rock n’ Roll outfit Ursa Minor share their latest video for “Stardust,” today.
Ursa Minor originated in NYC in the late 90s, coming out of the fertile downtown scene of musicians transcending the usual boundaries of folk, rock and jazz. Michelle Casillas worked as a sound engineer in the late 1990s and early 2000s at Tonic, the now defunct home of New York’s underground music scene. As an artist she sang on scores of films by Elliot Sharp and productions by Anton Fier (Feelies, Golden Palominos) while playing sideman, collaborating and recording with other local artists. Inspired by the freedom and diversity of the music she was hearing, Michelle formed Ursa Minor with guitarist Tony Scherr (Bill Frisell, Feist, Willie Nelson, Lounge Lizards), drummer Robert DiPietro (Elysian Fields, Norah Jones), and bassist Rob Jost (Imogen Heap, Bjork).
Ursa Minor’s debut LP Silent Moving Picture – a stark Fender Rhodes based record – was released by Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley, on Smells Like Records. Their second album, Showface (Anthemusa), took a punchier rock turn with driving guitar rhythms and expansive arrangements.
Ursa Minor’s current LP release, Sian Ka’an (Mayan, pronounced See-AHN KHAN, meaning “origin of the sky”) was inspired by a visit to the protected biosphere reserve on the Yucatán peninsula. Travels along the coast inspired a series of songs and photographs brought on by the raw intensity and untouched beauty of the region. The wonder of this place heavily influenced the writing and sound of the album.
Sian Ka’an is a return to the barebones vulnerability of the first album, with new resolve, tranquility, ferocity. The band ranges from feral polyphony to hushed stillness; a ballad of the mystery of the natural world. Sian Ka’an was produced by Tony Scherr, recorded analog to Otari 8 track by Derek Neivergelt, mixed by New York musician/producer/engineer Mark Plati (Bowie), and features special guests violist Caleb Burhans (John Cale, Yoko Ono, Steve Reich, the National, Arcade Fire) and organist Todd Caldwell (Crosby, Stills, Nash).
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