Created after a period of recording and road work with Jay-Z, the Weeknd, Leon Bridges, and many others, multi-instrumentalist Nate Mercereau’s second full-length release feels like a long exhale in sound, a meditation on what Aphex Twin called “surfing on sine waves.” Layered and sourced from live jams that took place on any number of L.A. weekends, Sundays is both experimental and formulated. It’s driving music, head music, landscapes with no discernible beginning, middle, or end, soothing sounds for drifters living in digitally disconnected times.
Starting with a series of percussive improvisations by Carlos Niño, Mercereau chopped them up and then enlisted drummer Jamire Williams and alto saxophonist Josh Johnson to improvise along with his edits at Lucy’s Meat Market in L.A. Throughout, electronic and acoustic sources bang up against nature sounds and further riveting improvisations.
Williams pours hot drumming over gurgling tones in “Every Moment Is the First and Last,” which suggests a gentle selection from the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds cut up, splattered, and splayed over ’60s-vintage Elvin Jones. Mercereau gives voice to analog synth moans not unlike Morton Subotnick’s Silver Apples of the Moon in “Absolute Sensitivity.” Spaghetti-western guitars, warbling sax, and roving tom drops open “Immersed in the Going,” which sounds like the Orb’s Alex Paterson and Larry Coryell chasing each other through a stew of whirring tape loops and string samples. The emotional synth cascades of “Truly Loving It” lead to the warm, saxophone-infused spirals of the closing track, “Access Point.”
Sundays trips the samples fantastic song after song, as happy fluffy tones merge with occasionally ominous atmospheres. Welcome to the state of dream, leave your mind at the door.