A project that took form last year, Soft Cat is set to release its debut album this Spring. I've been spending a lot of time with Wildspace, and can confidently say it will be one of the more enchanting releases to come out of Baltimore this year.
Migrating from Texas to Baltimore in recent years, Neil Sanzgiri is the mastermind behind Soft Cat. Some of the music behind Soft Cat originally stemmed from his other project, Talking Tiger Mountain. Here's the second song on Wildspace, "Dark When it Should be Violet Hour":
Wildspace is eight perfect tracks of incredibly lush folk pop, songs that layer melody upon melody in ways that warm your soul. Exploring beauty in places where it's not often sought and taking advantage of a rich community are where this record really excels.
Wildspace was mostly constructed in Baltimore, with the help of a lot of great local talent. Contributors include Brendan and Adam from Weekends and Bob Keal and Andy Abelow of Small Sur. Some out of town help came from members of Sunnybrook and Sleep Whale.
When I asked Neil the story behind this album, here were his thoughts on the theme:
"Any concentration of wilderness, growth, or life contained in a surviving ecosystem located in an urban setting is known as Wild Space. It is a non-domesticated area existing and dwelling as arcane emptiness. Wild Space creates fear from the unknown yet gives context to conformability. Organisms grow and cultivate while going unnoticed. Wild Space serves as the in between spaces in our lives. The album was written by the wild spaces of the railroad behind the Copy Cat in Baltimore, MD 2009."A premise of this nature resonates well with Baltimore and what's going in our urban landscape, and it's really great to see someone apply that to other social and ecological issues. The music asks to get more in touch with areas of ourselves that we've left unnoticed, yet these spaces continue to grow.
Neil is working on 200 handmade copies to be released through tour and contact in March, but the album will also get a proper digital release through Waaga Records. Waaga is an imprint of Lefse Records, home to Neon Indian, and also A Grave With No Name - responsible for Mountain Debris, an album I've been enjoying immensely as of late.
You can download Waaga Records' debut compilation for free at their site, which includes the Soft Cat track "It Won't Be Long", and songs from the rest of their artists.