There’s a reason Fort Worth singer-songwriter Daniel Katsük took almost four years to release the follow-up to his band KatsüK’s 2008 debut album, Out of the Wind. Actually, there are a whole bunch of reasons: money (or lack thereof), sudden fatherhood, other musical projects, and a changing lineup of available studios. Happily, the long wait was worth it. Zero Point is a 15-track collection of world music-inflected tunes that are tiny in sonic detail but grand in theme and instrumentation. Katsük himself went through so many personal and artistic changes in the time he worked on the album, he wound up making significant revisions to his compositions near the end of the recording process.
“I ended up rewriting the lyrics to nearly every song,” he said. “I felt like there wasn’t much hope in the lyrical content. I didn’t want to just vomit my woes all over people. A good song, like a good movie or book, has the hero coming back from his journey with the prize, the reward of what he learned along the way. That’s a very Joseph Campbell-ish idea. I wanted to go through the fire and then bring that turnaround back into the music.”
The rewards of Zero Point, which features the contributions of 19 different musicians besides guitarist-flutist-singer Katsük and guitarist-producer Jeff Dahlgren, are intensely catchy melodies, lush and intricate studio effects that never sound gimmicky or gratuitous, and a general outlook of spiritual generosity during tough times. The album’s meditative tunes run the gamut from gentle melancholy folk (the opener “Us”) to cheeky funk-informed kiss-off tunes (“Au Revoir”) to an eight-minute acoustic-psychedelic workout with shimmering layers of multi-tracked choruses (“Space Child”). Zero Point is one of those rare sprawling, ambitious collections that you want to listen to from beginning to end.