"I started this wanting to be a front man for a cool band," Chase Evans says about the origins of his multi-genre, spoken word-inspired musical project Slow Bunny, "but I realized what we were doing was something bigger than that. I took a step back and watched my friends amaze me." Evans, who once shared a stage with Pearl Dragon from Champagne Champagne and other noteworthy scribes at the Fenix Underground, has now put out an album representing his vivid, visceral poetics. It presents dark, confessional material in joyful, playful compositions; and ecstasy-induced vignettes in softer, slower tempos, all juxtaposed dialectically with each other.
Clockwork, the eight superbly recorded soundscapes formed from the once-homeless, Chai House, Bluebird Ice Cream, and Fenix Underground spoken word stalwart Evans and several long-time and inspired musical collaborators, is probably unlike any other underground rock album you'll hear this year. It is as deep as it is musically complex, often unexpectedly ambitious, and always enjoyable.
The Seattle-based avant-music five-piece features vocals and guitars from (Seattle music scene career picador) Kimo Muraki (Surrealized, recently ex-Fences), who co-wrote the music with Evans; additional guitars from Ari Joshua Zucker of lauded band Big High who also co-wrote the music; additional vocals from Tyler Willman (of beloved Green Apple Quickstep); with the rhythm section of drummer Steven Barci (Davy Knowles and the Back Door Slam) and bassist Jeremy Lightfoot (Satchel), who recorded Clockwork at his home studio (on transformer preamps that he pieced together himself and Pro Tools) which was mixed by Barrett Jones (Foo Fighters, Mike McCready, Star Anna).
Also appearing on the album is smokey-voiced Mehnaz Hoosein from Manooghi Hi with her smoldering guest vocals; funk master RL Heyer, guitarist for Flowmotion; and harmonica from Evans' fellow spoken word artist (from B.C.) CR Avery.
The album title Clockwork comes from a reflection of the music's use of time signatures, and the different dimensions of thought and experience lined upon each other, each clicking into the other -- sometimes abruptly, sometimes over a stretch of time.
"I started performing spoken word at the Chai House and Fenix Underground, but I was also known as someone who would hang out at the Mirabeau Room when I ended up living on Lower Queen Anne. 'Jumbalaya' was this great club night, and I met Kimo there, and all that wonderful stew of rock, funk, and hip-hop being played together. I started taking composition and vocal classes, with Kimo and Ari. We eventually made this into a band, and wrote an album in ten weeks! I'd come in with lyrics and some ideas. I kept getting blown away by what Kimo and the others were doing musically; I enjoyed what I expected but even more what I didn't expect. I handed over the vocal duties to Kimo and Ty, because I wanted the project to be the best it could be," similar to the way that Robert Hunter writes for the Grateful Dead. A lyricist, but also a spirited muse of an aesthetic that transcends simply providing imagery for other performers.