Now Is Always is the fourth Yea Big release for FPE Records. Prolific, generous, collaborative, and community-oriented, Yea Big (human name Stefen Robinson of Bloomington, IL) keeps returning with fully developed realizations in the musical space. Usually they grow from a seed, and it’s Yea Big’s unique gift to envision the emergent work and draw it forth.
The seed for Now Is Always was a performance by Jon Mueller at an underground arts space in Bloomington. Mueller’s transcendent, deliberate, hypnotic work for davul, gongs, and cymbals enthralled attendees, including Yea Big, who was inspired to create a fully realized ensemble work around the recording of the show, using various percussion instruments, woodwinds, bass guitar, and voices.
A truly remarkable long-form meditation came into being, subtly, unhurriedly evolving over nearly an hour of uninterrupted sound. Quiet vocalizations from Stefen and his partner, Jamie, and their son, Avi, bridge realms of existence. Pitches and pulse hint at hidden aspects of inner and outer life, existence unconfined to body. It’s reminiscent of the explorations of sonic pioneers like Marian Zazeela or Terry Riley.
Fully intentional and created, yet eternally present outside of time, Now Is Always feels like a discovery or a realization, something that needed the right conditions to come into our consciousness. As it was revealed through immersion and dedication to craft and listening, may it spur continued reflection and recognition in those who experience it.
Now Is Always will be available in digital format from FPE Records January 19, 2024.