Purple Witch of Culver is a Los Angeles-based duo featuring saxophonist/vocalist Sarah Safaie and producer/multi instrumentalist Evan Taylor.
Born out of an informal recording session meant merely to commit some of Safaie’s recent ideas to tape, the pair found an immediate, improvisational chemistry and the results sound like little else populating the current musical landscape.
Raised on bebop and straight ahead jazz, before an obsession with Parliament Funkadelic illuminated other musical avenues, Safaie moved to New York City out of high school to attend the New School for Jazz. While there, she once again ventured out of the traditional jazz world, discovering the city’s experimental noise and warehouse art scene.
Shortly after her arrival in L.A., she met and felt an immediate musical connection with Taylor, whose credits and list of collaborators include Jimmy Destri (Blondie), Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads, Modern Lovers), in addition to running the LA-based label Loantaka Records (Sofia Bolt, Jess Cornelius).
Most notably for Safaie, Taylor was part of the extended Parliament family, having worked as production partner with Bernie Worrell, the keyboard wizard of Parliament-Funkadelic, and collaborator with Talking Heads.
Fittingly for a group inspired by improvisation and experimentation, the duo’s sonic offerings have each been recorded at Loantaka Sound studios in Downtown Los Angeles, in their preferred all-analog recording medium.
Today Glide is excited to premiere the duo’s new single “Dustin,” which will be officially released on Loantaka Records on December 1st. The song centers around the idea of the universal feeling of loss and the fact that we often forget that until we’re truly commiserating with another’s shared experience. The tune finds the duo exploring the aftermath of despair: the searching for meaning, the grasps for hope, and the celebration of those who we once had in the flesh. Taylor delivers statements such as “we miss your presence and the mind that made us cry”, hinting at the well of mutually enjoyed wit and an intellect that dries up when a cherished personality is lost. Safaie delivers an almost guided meditation with lines like “In desiring to become you begin to begin again.” Having delved into the world of near death experiences recently, Safaie’s lyrics are an abstract portrayal of what it might feel like to be guided through a post-physical life transition. Through haunting chord changes Taylor delivers a weeping guitar solo channelling the likes of Funkadelic’s ‘Maggot Brain’. The track eventually erupts into what might be compared to the joyous backdrop of a 1980’s local mall superimposed with Safaie’s artful saxophone fugue and Taylor’s thunderous drum fills and stacked synths. Even in the midst of tragedy and despair, there is always a thread of hope and they want people to feel that energy. There is always room to start anew, even and especially after having hit rock bottom. During these times which can feel particularly bleak, people can reflect on progress and remember that there can be hope at the end of a significant struggle. The mix of spoken word, 70s pop flourishes, glam rock, funk and even jazz make this yet another compelling tune from this rising act.
The duo reflects on the meaning behind the song:
“‘Dustin’ is about the loss of a gentle kind soul and the lessons and transitions we go through when processing grief. The song illuminates how in post-grief there is an opportunity to recalibrate and thrive through the understanding that suffering is universal. This song is an effort to provide support and healing energy for anyone who has endured this sort of loss.”