On Feb. 28, local multi-instrumentalist Lee Barbour put out a short music film called “Mantra Mountain,” the first release under his alias, Infinite Jaguar.
The alternative jazz music heard in the film has a thin, hazey ambience, represented with visuals that consist of found footage Barbour manipulated with shape generators and treated to create a lo-fi quality.
“I’ve been doing video editing for a long time, but it’s always been off and on as needed. I’ve never had an ongoing project where I could dedicate a style” Lee Barbour told City Paper. “I’ve been on the other side, too, scoring to film, and so making film to a score is kind of a trip — it’s a lot of fun.”
Although he plays all the guitar, synth and bass heard in “Mantra Mountain,” he intentionally left space for someone else to come in and add to the track. And that someone was Grammy Award winning tenor saxophonist Kebbi Williams, who has collaborated with Barbour’s jazz ensemble Gradual Lean in the past.
“There’s some chord changes that have to be navigated, but you can’t navigate them in the same way you would over a jazz standard,” Barbour said. “I knew Kebbi would be the perfect fit for it because he understands jazz harmony and rhythm, but he can also transcend it and do so in such a personal and beautiful way.”
Barbour also experimented with a Japanese bamboo flute called a shakuhachi. “I couldn’t do anything crazy on it, just something simple and repetitive, which became the mantra aspect of ‘Mantra Mountain.’”
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