What Joshua Crumbly’s album ‘ForEver’ lacks in words, it makes up for in flavorful sounds, stirring tones, radiant grooves, and ethereal textures: A tasteful blend of filled and empty space that effortlessly brings into focus a whole world of wonder and feeling.
Stream: “The See” – Joshua Crumbly
It’s a testament to Joshua Crumbly’s talent and vision that he can express so much, without saying anything at all. Yet what the artist’s new album lacks in words, it makes up for in flavorful sounds, stirring tones, radiant grooves, and ethereal textures: A tasteful blend of filled and empty space that effortlessly brings into focus a whole world of wonder and feeling. Crumbly embraces stillness and solitude, reflection and wonder in his sophomore album ForEver, an intimate and hopeful album that shines a light not only on the potential and possibilities of the bass guitar, but also on our own humanity.
Out October 8, 2021 via Shahzad Ismaily’s figureight records, ForEver arrives just over a year after Joshua Crumbly’s May 2020 debut album Rise – itself an evocative instrumental record that received considerable (deserving) praise upon its release. A bicoastal (LA and New York) bassist, producer, and songwriter, Joshua Crumbly has recorded and toured with the likes of Leon Bridges, Kamasi Washington, Terence Blanchard, and many more – and while it’s easy to classify what Crumbly does into some sort of jazz sub-genre, his music transcends the traditional boxes, blurring the lines between rock, Rnb, jazz, psychedelia, and so much more. Astral, yet grounded; ethereal, yet substantial, ForEver is a record rooted in presence and absence, movement and stillness, stasis and tranquillity. Crumbly invites us to join him on a half-hour introspective meditation as he envelops the ears, and in turn the mind, in an enchanting minimalist journey that takes us to faraway places, without ever moving us an inch.
“This record was first inspired by a really out of the blue call whilst I was on tour in St. Petersburg, Florida,” Crumbly tells Atwood Magazine. “I didn’t even have the number that was calling, but something told me to answer it. It turned out to be Shahzad Ismaily, whom I had only met twice at that time. I picked the phone up and he literally says, ‘Hi Josh, you need to record a solo bass album.’ And I was like, ‘uh, ok.’ I’ll never forget that day because moments before that call I was feeling super content with having just finished my first record, Rise, and had just sent it to mastering and posted about it on IG, etc, etc… After that call, it all set in that ‘Wait, there’s more to do, lot’s more music to make.'”
Crumbly didn’t necessarily have a vision going into this record; rather, he explains, the concepts and sounds that bind these songs together gradually revealed themselves to him over time.
“It was pretty open at first,” he recalls. “I believe the first track that I ever recorded for this album was “THREE.” At that time I was like, “Oh this is going to be some sort of indie-rock/solo bass album, ok cool!” I ended up going on tour forever, so the couple of tracks I had started for this project just sat for a while. Then the pandemic happened. I’d definitely have to say the time off was a huge blessing for me, because I have pretty much been touring with many artists non-stop since I was about 17-18 years old. So, I was thankful for the newfound time and right at the start of it started working on this record again. The first conceptual idea that came to me when I returned to it, was to make a record that could be a sonic backdrop for any moment in life.”
“As time went on, in addition to the pandemic there got to be so much heavy stuff happening in the world and the happenings led me to some of the songs such as “Reflection” and the re-realization of the importance of “Family.” I was also led to reflections on love and legacy during this time. As well as “Tomorrow” it’ll be different, we’ll be good. We’re all going to get through this.”
Crumbly describes ForEver as a “letter to tomorrow”: A deeply personal, yet equally universal record brimming with vulnerability, truth, and hope. For him, it’s “a warm hug in inner space.” The title, with its contrasting imagery of intimacy and grandeur, minimalism and eternity, helps establish these sentiments for the listening experience.
“[‘ForEver‘] definitely stems from the concept of it being a very flow-y/not any one experience, that it could be music for any/every moment,” he explains. “I also had lots of thoughts on love and the different iterations of it. Grateful to have been given inspiration to create original music and I think this has been my path thus far in life to release a little love in my own way to the world. All this being said, the record started out really open so I think there’s also a lightness to the record that’s not too demanding or anything.”
I feel with this record, I feel like I’m on a path now that I can keep infinitely exploring. I really feel like ‘ForEver’ is a portal into my deepest values in a very intimate way.
Highlights abound on an album that effortlessly opens the gates of our emotion and imagination alike. From the establishing vibes of the titular opening track and the smoldering “THREE” (featuring Michael Coleman on synthesizer), to the dreamily visceral “The See” (featuring Sam Gendel on saxophone), the brooding and hypnotic “C.S.C” (featuring Jay Bellerose on drums), the cascading “Kolkata,” the uplifting “Reflection” (featuring David Cook on the Hammond B3 organ) and the scintillating “We’ll Be (Good)” (featuring Jason Burger on drums and Shahzad Ismaily on guitar and bells), ForEver delivers an soothingly cohesive and stimulating experience – not to mention a who’s who of talented players.
“I hope that listeners are taken somewhere, and that there’s a renewed optimism for tomorrow,” Crumbly shares, ruminating on his new music’s impact on listeners and himself. “Personally, what I’ve taken away from making this album is making a little more sense of my world and the outer world and how they relate to one another.”
Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Joshua Crumbly’s ForEver with Atwood Magazine as the artist goes track-by-track through the music of his sophomore LP!
Stream: ‘ForEver’ – Joshua Crumbly
:: Inside ForEver ::
This song kind of came to me in an instant. I recorded it right away. The title of this song also came to me shortly after and then it fell into place with naming the record ForEver as well. It just seemed to totally encompass all of my reflections. And, spelling it specifically in that way too – I just kinda saw it like that immediately after the word “Forever” came to me – it seemed to be fitting for the sound and sentiments of the album.
This was the very first song recorded for the album. I like listening to this one, it’s really happy. I had SO much fun playing drums on this one too. There are many musical reasons that led me to name the song “THREE.” 3 is a really special number to me as well.
I also love listening to this one. I knew we had the mix right (s/o to Michael Coleman) when I was consistently being gently lulled to sleep on every listen. Sweet dreams 🙂
I think this is a really interesting one along with “ForEver” too, where I don’t know if people would think it’s me playing a bass. I’m all about the deception (lol no jk). I’ve just been enjoying seeing how far I can take this instrument to express in a new way.
This song conceptually is an important one on this album. I think my infatuation with stillness in music and re-discovering it personally is captured on this song. It could possibly be my favorite song title on the album, IDK.
Oh, and this song too – In terms of stretching the bass in a different way. The song is largely just basses and drums (s/o Jay Bellerose). This song is a nice and smooth journey to outer space, but in a low rider that’s also a spaceship.
This song is also a really important one that is strongly rooted to what the album is about. Also, I’m singing on this song. Well kinda, right? Baby steps. “Forever, and ever and ever and ever”
My Indian heritage has been increasingly more and more meaningful to me. It’s always an illuminating experience being there. I originally wrote this song in India in Kolkata.
We’ll Be (Good)
Maybe the second song recorded for this album – or I should say, [the second song I] started. Then Jason Burger and Shahzad Ismaily beautifully contributed. It’s the only song with guitar on it and only song with one more than two people.
I released this as a standalone single. This one came to me in a special way while listening to the news in the background when there seemed to be little hope in the world. I just kept playing and playing this progression to the news reports. I think it captured the feeling but took me to a hopeful place simultaneously.
It’s the last song on the record and also was the very last song recorded. Lot’s of different meanings to the title. I also think it could be cool in a Nike commercial. What’s up Nike? But in all seriousness, it kinda just inherently had a last song vibe to it and I think it also leaves the door open for what may come next.
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:: Stream Joshua Crumbly ::