Ten Steps is the highly anticipated collaborative album from Brooklyn, NY and Tokyo/Black Country Pathfinders Max ZT & Dan Whitehouse. Released on September 8th and followed by a UK tour in October (which we highly recommend), we have the pleasure of sharing their new video Shizuka which means ‘quiet’. Shizuka is being released as a single tomorrow, which you can pre-save here; it’s also our Song of the Day.
Most recently, Dan was featured on Folk Radio with the release of Reflections On The Glass Age, an acoustic reworking of his acclaimed 2022 album. As pointed out by Mike Davies in his album review, it offered a new sonic experience:
…Reflections On The Glass Age is one to be embraced in calm and solitude and a glowing illustration of Dan Whitehouse’s versatility as a musician to bend songs to different purposes. In what is probably a first, it chalks up an impressive triumph in having two versions of the same album, twelve months apart, both claiming a spot in my year’s best.
Some may recall the background to Ten Steps when we featured the extraordinary and beautiful title track as a Song of the Day in 2021. It was thanks to the Global Music Match programme earlier that year (organised by English Folk Expo in partnership with 19 other countries) that Dan teamed up with hammered dulcimer player Max ZT of House of Waters – “One of the most original bands on the planet,” NY Music Daily.
They went on to tour the UK in November 2021 and to record this album. ‘Ten Steps’ SIDE A (tracks 1-5) was recorded between New York City and Tokyo and completed during 2021, while SIDE B (tracks 6-7) captures Max ZT’s improvisations performed at their meditative live gigs in November of that same year, which inspired Dan’s own words and music.
Some music can resonate with a listener in unexpected ways, especially when being created by musicians who go beyond genre constraints. Musical experimentation seems to be flourishing more than ever…it may be that more are looking outwards in response to cultural changes – not dissimilar to the way that Spiritual Jazz has seen a resurgence. This seems to apply to the music of Max ZT & Dan Whitehouse; while what they are creating is exciting and exceptional, it’s also deeply intuitive, poetic and rewarding because they are unhindered and open. As they say below, “we yearn to get outside of our own heads and see the world from another’s perspective”. They have achieved that in the most humblest of ways.