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Soft Cat is a project with a remarkably mature sound given its relatively short existence. Formed in 2009 by Neil Sanzgiri (Talking Tiger Mountain, Voot Cha Index), he wasted little time in recruiting a plethora of our city’s musicians to aid him in realizing a lush musical vision, including Andy Abelow and Bob Keal of Small Sur, and Adam Lempel and Brendan Sullivan of Weekends. So enthusiastic was he about his new-found home of Charm City (following a move from his native Texas) that he helped curated the huge weekend of like-minded music called Soft Fest at the aptly branded Soft House.

This darkened vision of folk presents dreamy, leaden layers that form a sound as mysterious as it is dense. Sanzgiri’s vocals are often plaintive, wistful, full of yearning. His heavy-lidded style is perfectly suited to their hazy sound. The album also draws on remarkably varied instrumentation including flute, saxophone, banjo, violin and more, in addition to the standard drums and guitars layout.

As Neil himself puts it: “Any concentration of wilderness, growth, or life contained in a surviving ecosystem located in an urban setting is known as Wild Space. It is a non-domesticated area existing and dwelling as arcane emptiness. Wild Space creates fear from the unknown yet gives context to conformability. Organisms grow and cultivate while going unnoticed. Wild Space serves as the in between spaces in our lives.”

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