Saxophonist, flutist and composer Hailey Niswanger undoubtedly vibrates at a higher frequency. Inspired in part by the teachings of Zen Master Thích Nhât Hanh, she began the next step in her musical journey in 2016 with the creation of the collective MAE.SUN, a far off departure from her previous funk project PDX Soul. Drawing from a multitude of influences ranging from ’60s and ’70s psychedelia to late Coltrane by way of neo soul and modern jazz, MAE.SUN always remains grounded in mindfulness and strives for “the awakening of a higher consciousness in our society” (see our 2018 interview). On November 1st, MAE.SUN will be releasing the follow-up to their 2017 debut Vol. 1: Inter-be, the highly-anticipated Vol. 2: Into the Flow.
“I felt like I finally stepped into a new version of myself that was 100-percent authentic and free,” says Niswanger. “MAE.SUN really feels like I’m fulfilling my potential and my purpose.” The album title stems from the saxophonist’s belief that “your life is set for you—that we chose our lives before we got here. You have your own flow that you need to give in to and not to the pressures of society, or by getting caught up in fears, anxieties and stigmas that can hold us back.”
Joining Niswanger on the cosmic exploration are vibraphonist Nikara Warren, guitarist Andrew Renfroe, keyboardist Axel Laugart, bassist Aaron Liao and drummer David Frazier Jr, with Jake Sherman on additional synths, as well as special guest appearances by vocalists Amber Navran, of the Los Angeles-based soul trio Moonchild, and Australian-born, Brooklyn-based Kate K-S.
Vol. 2: Into the Flow was designed to be best experienced in one uninterrupted listen, but we are honored to be premiering the album finale “Free” today on Nextbop. In Niswanger’s own words, “Free is the ultimate goal. To be clear from suffering, worry, doubt, and pain. Once we release into the flow, we can experience this freedom. ‘Free’ is the finale of the album, and features interplay between my sax and David Frazier Jr on the drums. I feel totally expansive when I play over this track. I scream, I let go. The bass line is like a life line to the universe. I can do anything over it, and it remains there as my constant guide. Ultimately, with this music I want people to feel that their spirits are boundless, eternal, and free.”
Stream “Free”, the new single by MAE.SUN from their upcoming album Vol. 2: Into the Flow
Vol. 2: Into the Flow, the new record by Hailey Niswanger’s MAE.SUN collective drops November 1st.
Sébastien Hélary co-founded Nextbop in 2009 with the objective of introducing modern jazz music to a younger generation of fans. Aside from music, his other main obsession is food, particularly ramen and other Japanese delicacies.