Kalia Vandever is a Brooklyn-based in-demand trombonist with a slew of superstar credits to her name, including the likes of Harry Styles, Lizzo and Japanese Breakfast. Kalia's debut solo LP We Fell In Turn has just been released by AKP Recordings. We Fell In Turn is certainly contemplative, courageous and beautifully understated. You might end up thinking this is a little more Gavin Bryars than Rico Rodriguez; all the while informed by William Basinski’s The Disintegration Loops. However you choose to hear it, We Fell In Turn is not hard to quantify as a unique and important recording. Kalia talks us through her record, Track by Track.
Recollections From Shore
The opening track feels very true to the original KV solo performance sound. It not only sets the tone for the album, but it roots the listener in a world that is reminiscent of some of the earliest solo shows I played in NYC. While I’ve expanded the landscape a bit more, this track feels grounding and honest to what drew me to solo playing in the first place. When recording this piece, I imagined the closeness I feel to my Hawaiian ancestors when I’m by the ocean on Oahu or Kauai.
Imagine Being Told
This improvisation came from a prompt dictated by the producer of the record, Lee Meadvin. He told me to conjure a memory from my childhood and bring forth the feeling it evokes. This was difficult at first because I tend to get in my head when directed to play from a particular place, but I began to consider the repercussions of being promised something as a child. I was considering the naivety you’re born with and carry into your early life because you’ve been told to carry yourself a certain way.
Stillness In Hand
This was one of the only preconceived pieces that ended up on the record. Most of the other works on We Fell In Turn were improvised. I arrived to the house in upstate NY with a handful of ideas and we ended up falling in love with the improvisations more than anything else. Stillness In Hand ultimately made it on the record and I feel like the pacing of this piece fits nicely in the fold of the entire work.
The only track on the album that features my voice! Towards the end of day two of recording, Lee suggested he trigger the pedals while I improvise and this was one of our favorite pieces that came from that concept. This piece takes me back to my solitary walks in downtown Los Angeles when I was a teenager. Listening to Grouper and trying to sort through my heightened
The title is inspired by Rothko’s painting, White Center. I remember seeing this painting for the first time when I was in high school and crying as I sat in front of it for at least twenty minutes. I had never been transported by a painting before, but I felt an overwhelming calmness that I didn’t want to let go of. I specifically tried to embody that calmness in this piece and it’s since become one of my favorite tracks on the album.
Temper the Wound
This piece carries a lot of weight because it explores the act of rediscovering early experiences that shaped my conception of fear, loss, and rejection. I was thinking about separation in the family and how I wasn’t equipped to process the loss. Not only the loss of a relationship, but the loss of this early notion of love and commitment. It’s taken a lot of time to work through the anger and confusion of those early teen years, but I’ve found ways to redefine what love means
Teased Traces feels sneaky and unsettling. I wasn’t sure whether I was going to keep this song on the record, but I enjoy the tension that builds throughout the piece, leaving you with a mysterious loop at the end.
Lee told me to take in the silence of the room before beginning this improvisation. This ultimately led to sparse entrances and significant space which isn’t present in a lot of the other pieces on the album. This piece has a way of transporting me back to that room and the excitement that we felt making this record.
We Wept In Turn
Playing on the title of the album, We Wept In Turn encapsulates many of the themes of the record: loss, fear, solitude, love, and childhood. This piece feels like the recognition of all of these experiences and the unfolding of them in my current life. We Wept In Turn also implies that the sorrow isn’t felt alone which feels true to my recent process of healing.
To close the album, I wanted to leave the listener with a sound that references an earlier piece: Stillness in Hand. This was one of the few premeditated ideas and I originally intended for this to transition into Stillness In Hand. It wasn’t until we were listening back to everything that Lee suggested we break up the two pieces and bring the listener back to an earlier sound. Many of the themes of the record surround early memories that reemerge in dreams and the ending of this piece leaves the listener immersed in a reverie, wondering how they got there in the first place.