Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, the Chicago-based group of brothers (they’re all sons of the late jazz trumpeter Phil Cohran), is at the center of the second iteration of Jagjaguwar’s 25th-anniversary series. This year, the label will release a tribute album honoring the experimental-folk musician Richard Youngs and his pivotal 1998 album, Sapphie.
On the ensemble’s latest release, a breathier, spacious rework of Youngs’ “A Fullness Of Light In Your Soul,” singer Perfume Genius steps in for the vocal parts.
“I recorded this cover while deep in quarantine,” Perfume Genius said in a statement. “Working on [“A Fullness Of Light In Your Soul”] brought a really welcome energy, I went fully into song world and put reality on hold for a moment. It’s a big song, too, so I got to stay there for a while. Both the original and the arrangement by the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble have a truly hypnotic and almost mystical quality, while singing it I tried to stay hyper-present and thought of it like we were all casting one long spell.”
The collaboration arrives with a video featuring outsider folk-artist Lonnie Holley, walking through his studio and yard. Holley, 71, was born in Birmingham, Alabama, one of 27 children, at the end of the Jim Crow era. He is known for his recycled found-object sculptures and paintings, which have been featured in places like the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Smithsonian. Holley’s sprawling yard — and adjacent, abandoned lots near his home — became his canvases. In the mid-’80s, people began traveling to his immersive art installations until he was forced off of his property by the expansion of an airport.
The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble reimagined Youngs’ other songs and performed with guest vocalists including Moses Sumney (on “Soon It Will Be Fire”) and Sharon Van Etten (on “The Graze Of Days”). The full album, called This Is A Mindfulness Drill, arrives on June 25.
New to Sapphie? Listen to the original “A Fullness Of Light In Your Soul” below and compare it to Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and Perfume Genius’ new version above.
This Is A Mindfulness Drill is out 6/25 via Jagjaguwar. Pre-order it here.