By Jennie Orton
VANCOUVER — From the first daunting and fuzzy moments of For the Sun, Layten Kramer’s debut full-length release, you can hear that an evolution has taken place. Though the soul and gentle affection that was present in his previous work, most notably the incredibly touching “Sea of Glass,” is still present, there is a sonic leap that’s been made thanks to the positive effects of both geography and collaboration.
“I draw inspiration directly from the location I am in at the time and this record definitely represents two places in my life: one where I was in Alberta and the other when I was in Vancouver,” he explains.
Kramer has split time in recent years between his home turf of Calgary/Canmore, Alberta and the coastal lure of Vancouver. The vibe of both places is present in the new recordings. Vancouver’s leaning towards synth lends a much more electric element to Sun; one Kramer says he was happy to get to play with. But it is Calgary’s very active music community and scene that provided the atmosphere of collaboration, which gives this album its true trajectory.
“Calgary and Edmonton right now have very vibrant art scenes and I think it may be because it is a little easier to live in both those cities as an artist,” Kramer posits.
“It’s kind of humbled the scene there as well which I think is a good thing. There are people there like Viet Cong who are at the top of their games and people like myself who are just getting started and there is a lot of collaboration and inspiration.”
That sense of inspiration is what made Kramer reach out to JUNO Award-winning producer Colin Stewart of Dan Mangan and Ladyhawk fame to see about doing an album together.
“We ended up on the phone and talked about different ideas and how to make what I was already doing better,” he explains.
Alongside best friends and bandmates Dean Kheroufi and Connor Ellinger, Kramer employed the vocal talent of Kathryn Calder of The New Pornographers and Geoff Hillhorst of The Deep Dark Woods on Rhodes and Organ; the result is a lush and swelling soundscape which creates a sophisticated homegrown psychedelic folk sound that is both prairie style sentimental and coastally cool.
“It’s surreal because these people are pretty prominent in the Canadian music industry right now so it’s cool that I get to share this experience with them and give it to the world to listen to,” says Kramer.
Layten Kramer will be playing the Biltmore Cabaret in Vancouver April 23, Broken City in Calgary April 28, and The Almanac in Edmonton April 30. For the Sun comes out April 29..AB, Alberta, BC, Biltmore Cabaret, British Columbia, Broken City, Layten Kramer, The Almanac