Boomkat Product Review:
Horn player, producer and songwriter CJ Camerieri returns with his collaborative CARM project. "CARM II".
"The album, coming out on 37d03d, was produced in Minneapolis by Ryan Olson and features Edie Brickell, Sid Sriram, Kristian Matsson, Justin Vernon, Gabriella Smith, Sean Carey and others. It is a genre-defying, heartfelt exploration of the possibilities in provocative music- making and provides a homespace for a profound variety of voices.
Where the first record used horns in place of other instruments, CARM II places them even more prominently in the musical texture. The experience of playing live shaped this approach. “Standing at the front of the stage was a new experience for me and I wanted to create a record of songs that justified my being there.” On CARM II, there is no mistaking that the lead “singer” of this band is Camerieri’s horn. CJ also wanted to feature bandmate Trever Hagen, who takes on both production and performance roles.
The featured artists on CARM II have opined on their various roles in this project. Brickell contacted Camerieri asking him to participate in her short-form songwriting project that she introduced on social media during the pandemic. Camerieri and Olson were in the middle of writing songs for the record, and one stood out as perfect for Brickell’s request. Sent as a work-in- progress, she quickly responded, writing the first verse and chorus to what would become “More and More.” They knew it needed to be fully realized. Says Brickell, “CJ’s trumpet melodies and phrases inspired ‘More and More.’ I just listened to him and followed his lead, trusted what came to mind and sang it. It all flowed from his music.”
“For ‘I Fall’ Ryan and I created the basic track and I really struggled to write on it. It wasn’t in song form, and I couldn’t find my way into making it a coherent thought.” CJ thought of Gabriella Smith, one of the leading composers of our day, and on a whim sent her the track. Smith sent fragments to experiment with and send back to her as she rode out the pandemic in the Norwegian countryside. After 3 months, she then sent him a fully realized score of horns/vocals. The result is a testament to the visionary composer’s incredible ingenuity. “That this music was in Smith’s imagination and then fully notated is mind boggling to me.”
“The Ones You Love” was the last song written for the record. CJ had been arranging and playing horns on Sid Sriram’s forthcoming debut, falling in love with Sriram’s voice and style. The song came from a jam session at with Andrew Broder on keys, Evan Slack on guitar, Chris Bierden on bass, and Hagen on drum machine. CJ and Sid trade epic lines back and forth, celebrating vulnerability and virtuosity in tandem.