On the right tracks
and vocalist Miranda Scott are perfectionists of the tallest order, and that can be an alienating state of mind. Just ask them. They’ll be the first to tell you the reason they usually only perform as a duo is because it’s almost impossible to find other musicians who want to fully commit to their songwriting, recording, and performance processes, which begin rather organically and end with bouts of obsessive refinement.
Since meeting about two years ago during West African dance classes at the Railyard Performance Center, Tumason and Scott have been arranging and performing original songs as with local and far-flung musicians occasionally floating into their orbit for recording sessions and gigs.
At (doors open at 7), Evarusnik — the name, pronounced ay-vah-ruse-neek, is a take on the surname of an Czechoslovakian matriarch in Tumason’s family — returns to the (1611 Paseo de Peralta, 982-8309) for a concert to celebrate the release of its debut full-length album, on Rapanui Records. It was originally conceived and recorded as a five-song EP that was produced in just five days, and Tumason was not happy with the results. “It sounded like total [crap] if you ask me,” he told
After a listening session with one of Tumason’s friends and musical touchstones, California-based multi-instrumentalist and contributor Greg Ellis, percussionist for psy-trance group Juno Reactor (Ellis’ work has appeared on the soundtracks to and other films), Tumason and Scott went back to the drawing board — for 18 months.
After three main recording sessions — one in Taos at Tumason’s former home studio, one at the Mission Bells studio in San Francisco, and one at The Electric Company, Santa Fe musician/engineer Jon Gagan’s studio — Tumason and Scott are finally ready to release the mind-blowing, 15-song
Solid guest musicians including Round Mountain’s Char and Robby Rothschild, Gagan on upright bass, and Gregory Gutin on cajón and miscellaneous percussion contribute to concept-album feel. There are hints on it of what Scott and Tumason refer to as “mournful, trampy old America” — especially on track five, “Onis the Laskan,” which is at www.myspace.com/evarnusik (in un-mastered form) — but many of the songs also hint at everything from Eastern European folk balladry to Israeli pop, dirgelike Middle Eastern music, and the alt-country flavors of Arizona ensemble Calexico. “The album represents a culmination of the last decade of my music and life,” Tumason said. He wanted to tell the story of his travels and experiences from those years, and with this album, he and Scott take listeners on an emotionally charged sonic journey that never fails to engage and impress.
The epicenter of Evarusnik’s hypnotic charm is Tumason’s acoustic instrumentation and lyrical imagery; Scott’s angelic, fado-influenced vocals; and the pair’s meticulously styled harmonies. Those elements are the focus of their Oct. 2 concert and upcoming performances in California. The creative intimacy between Scott and Tumason makes Evarusnik one of the most unique and captivating bands in Santa Fe. Because they perform live so infrequently (try squeezing a large piano through the door of most local venues and you’ll understand why), I urge you to catch the show at the Railyard Performance Center. And I strongly recommend picking up which releases on Oct. 10. Tickets for the show are $10 to $20 at the door.
— Rob De Walt