Around 2013, there was a kind of "breakpoint" in Steve's output, as beautifully illustrated by Tom Alves (@DancingMonk) in this tweet: twitter.com/Dancing_Monk/status/1544803722638893057?s=20&t=njVdRNXDGKqvJV_z_GbABw
which shows a TREBLING of output in 2013 compared to 2012. Starting the Bandcamp subscription for his work, Steve was able to put out work in progress, live recordings, sketches, ideas. This was not new in itself - Steve had done so via Soundcloud and various Street Team shares before - but rather this was a mutually beneficial setup where supporters could underwrite Steve's musical R&D while receiving ALL content produced across the year AND pretty much everything he had released to date. Many of the tracks in the "Best of..." compilations 2013 - 2021 were released solely to subscribers in this period. If this is your first hearing of these tracks, then this is what you've missed. Of course, it's not too late to sign up to Steve's subscription and get these releases in full, and any future exclusives.
For my part, collaborating with Tom on the "Best of..." compilations Pts1 & 2 was easy as there was simply less to choose from. When Tom started compiling the 2013 - 2021 "Best of..." series, I simply couldn't keep up, and with other personal commitments I had to bow out. What you hear in this compilation is Tom's careful curation and diligence to compile similar cross-sections of Steve's enormous output to the "Best of..." Pts 1 & 2.
Some of the music in this compilation of later collaboration releases is perhaps not as immediately accessible as the Pt 2 (2000 - 2013) compilation. In places it is more complex, more dense, and requires or deserves more listens to contextualize and appreciate what is going on. What hasn’t changed over the previous compilation is the improvisational skills of all involved - deep listening, the ability to weave and blend sounds to enhance each others’ playing and produce something bigger than the sum of the parts.
As ever, trying to pigeon-hole the music Steve produces, both solo and in collaboration, is futile. There are beautiful textures and ambient sounds, moments of jazz and fusion, progressive (prog) rock elements, and occasionally all of the above in one tune. If you struggle with this aspect, I suggest instead that you just let yourself go with the sound. If you don’t like what you’re hearing, then hold on - another different sound will be along very shortly…
I'd like to thank Tom for his hard work in compiling this playlist.
- Mike K Smith
released November 4, 2022
Cover image by Tom Alves (@DancingMonk)
Compiled by Tom Alves (@DancingMonk)