For a short press blurb, go here.
Hazel-Rah began as Tim Byrnes’ inspiration to rise up to a personal challenge to compose a set of music that would compliment Toby Driver’s Tartar Lamb on a mid-winter tour of the United States that straddled 2006 and 2007. That famous tour ended tragicomically with the van breaking down on the way home in Tomah, Wisconsin (see “Writings”). This initial Hazel-Rah lineup featured Byrnes on vocals and synth, Driver on guitar, and Friendly Bears’ Andrew Greenwald on drums. They played a set of three songs: “Good-bye”, “Kaleidoscope”, and “‘Ty”. On some rare occasions they also played a synthesized version of Toby Driver’s “Eptaceros”, from his record In the L… L…Library Loft.
In summer 2007, Hazel-Rah reformed as a duo, with Forbes Graham playing an electronic drum interface and Byrnes again on synth. This incarnation played a Southern U.S. tour of about 10 dates (see “Writings”).
As a band, Hazel-Rah laid low for the next few years, as Tim was caught up into other musical responsibilities, including Anthony Braxton’s trumpet ensemble, Ron Anderson’s PAK, and Toby Driver’s Kayo Dot. There were, however, some Hazel-Rah highlights from that time, including a recording session with Toby Driver and Mike Pride at Eric Bennett’s studio in New Jersey, a really short tour of New England and Philly with Forbes Graham and Stern in summer ’08, opening slots on the PAK/Stig Noise Sound System tour of France in fall ’08, a house show in Seattle during the Kayo Dot Coyote sessions in summer ‘09, and a big show at John Zorn’s music space The Stone in February ’10, which featured an excellent lineup of David Andrew Moore on drums, Adam Minkoff on guitar, and Extra Life’s Charlie Looker on baritone guitar (with Driver making a special guest appearance mid-set).
Hazel-Rah’s first five-year season culminated with a recording session that started in January 2011 at Colin Martson’s Menegroth the Thousand Caves, which yielded “Behold, A Firewall” and “Stars”, featuring the Looker/Minkoff/Moore lineup. Finished mid-year, these songs would constitute Hazel-Rah’s first official release, The Africantape 10″ on Africantape Records (February 2012).
Prior to these songs, the recorded output had been sparse but pointed, consisting of lo-fi recordings that included several art-songs, a remix/reinvention of Candiria’s “Pull”, and a French horn/baritone guitar duet played by Byrnes and Looker called “Glacier”.