New Normal is the first full-length solo record from Montreal-based saxophonist and producer, Evan Shay. Mostly composed and assembled during the intense months of the pandemic, the music journeys across many stylistic influences and the flurry of emotions that emerged throughout the turmoil. The driving forces of the record are the raw emotionality and uncertainty that follow a global catastrophe, and the fear and rage at witnessing the rise of fascism in the United States.
The album is also heavily influenced by the 1971 movie Vanishing Point; in particular, how the film explores themes of existentialism, commentary on societal roles, and finding your own sense of personal freedom. Accompanying each track are animations that feature the iconic white 1970 Dodge Challenger that takes Kowalski, the enigmatic counterculture antihero, on his escape route from life in society. With this music, Evan Shay is shedding light on the same questions that the film was asking 50 years ago.
Combining a nuanced blend of electronic music, hip-hop, ambient, and jazz, New Normal deviates from Shay's 2018 release Internal Combustion—a gritty fusion of guitar and metal-influenced compositions developed by his band, Lawful Citizen. In this debut as a solo artist, New Normal carries the same intensity, but employs a producer’s palette of sounds.
This project was made possible by funding from FACTOR and Emploi Quebec's Jeunes Volontaires program.
released October 30, 2020
Evan Shay- tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, synths, production, sequencing
Chiquita Magic- vocals, additional synths (track 3)
HPRIZM- vocals (track 6, 9, 10), production
Lou Piensa- vocals (track 8)
Waahli- vocals (track 8)
Sarah Rossy- vocals (track 11, 12)
Scott Bevins- trumpet (track 7)
Jean-Michel Frederic (JMF)- keys (track 7)
Aaron Otheim- synths (track 11, 12)
CARRTOONS- electric bass, additional synth (track 7)
Mark Haynes- electric bass (track 8)
Kyle Hutchins- drums, percussion (track 1, 6, 7, 8)
John Hollenbeck- drums, percussion (track 4, 12)
Mixed by: HPRIZM (hprizm.bandcamp.com
Mastered by: Jonathan Kaspy (www.kaspymastering.com
Photography by: Bryan Wilkat (bryanwilkat.com
Album Design by: Liz Michaud
Animations by: Liz Michaud
Special thanks to: Waahli for his Jeunes Volontaires mentorship, Nick Panaritis of Nick's Garage for his beautiful Dodge Challenger, HPRIZM, Vijay Iyer, Steve Lehman, Dr. MaD, Jonathan Kaspy, and Kiefer for their knowledge and guidance, my parents, my partner Liz Michaud, all the musicians for their contributions, and to the 2019 Banff International Workshop in Jazz & Creative Music faculty and students.