Frontman for Giant Sand and OP8, Howe Gelb has been called "the most resilient and consistently inventive American artist of the last two decades." Confluence is his latest solo album and the follow up to 1998's Hisser (V2). That album was a low-key and elegiac affair haunted by the memory of Howe's longtime friend and collaborator Rainer Ptacek, who had passed away a year earlier. While Confluence retains some of it's predecessor's heartrendingly intimate atmosphere, the overall result is something altogether more dynamic and reminiscent of Giant Sand's own improvisational exuberance, but with a highly personal spin.
"Recording is best used as a pretty good reason to hang with the family of friends globally scattered." Howe Gelb
Taking that credo to heart, Howe recorded these songs in a variety of locations and with the enlisted help of his many talented friends. A trip to Bristol, UK yielded yet another fruitful collaboration with John Parish (PJ Harvey), who also worked behind the scenes of Giant Sand's Chore of Enchantment (Thrill Jockey). Back in the States, Howe recorded with Kevin Salem at his studio in upstate New York. And in Arizona, Howe spent time at Craig Shumacher's Wavelab Studios as well as perfecting his craft at home when his friends from the band Grandaddy stopped by, producing their spare and beautiful rendition of Elvis' "Can't Help Falling in Love." In addition to this, there are even more recordings captured as a result of "treasured happenstance," with the girls from the band Candy Prune and Howe's Giant Sandmates Joey Burns and John Convertino among others in vans, bathrooms and college radio stations in America and Europe. All in all, there are many rivers of thought here, such is the confluence.