Sonntag, the musical project of Wisconsin native and Berkeley resident Zachary Johnston, recently released an LP entitled In Paths Too Dark For Seeing. Johnston considers himself primarily a filmmaker and actually moved to the Bay Area in 2010 to collaborate more closely with Pixar animators that had taken an interest in his work with films.
However, In Paths makes it clear Johnston can more than hold his own as a musician. Sonntag’s tracks usually start with a fairly basic folk song as a foundation, but Johnston adds layer upon layer of instruments and vocals to create huge, sweeping moments throughout the album. Johnston tells me In Paths was influenced by music he heard while working on a film in the Andes (Ken Burns’ documentary The West) and his travels around the United States.
Whether it was Johnston’s intention or not, the album would make a great soundtrack for a Spaghetti Western, Renaissance era film, or anything in between. He recently wrapped up a tour of the Midwest with three other bands that would all combine to close the night with Sonntag, and Johnston now plans to release another Sonntag track around the end of the year.
You can listen to the opening track from the album “Welcome to the Americas” below. Also be sure to watch one of his film projects below the song – a collaboration with Dice Tsutsumi promoting the Sketchtravel project. In Paths Too Dark for Seeing is available on Sonntag’s Bandcamp page as a name your price download, and more examples of Johnston’s film work, including a collaboration with Anthony Ferraro of Astronauts, Etc., can be found on elderstudio.com.