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Martin's double album has been split into two releases, the first of which drops in May.

Barrett Martin To Release Zenga in May, Second Album Slated for Fall ’09

The fourth studio album from multi-instrumentalist and composer Barrett Martin will be released in May.  Martin, the former Screaming Trees/Mad Season drummer will self-release the album through his Fast Horse Recordings import digitally and is aiming for a physical release of the album May 19.

Zenga was originally slated for a 2008 release but was pushed back, and that's not all that's changed.  The album was intended as a 2-CD set but has been split into two records, the first of which is Zenga.

Those disappointed about a 2-CD set being pared to one have no reason to fear they're being shortchanged.  The 11-track Zenga stretches past the 74 minute mark, with some compositions reaching past eight and nine minutes.  The compositions not part of Zenga are scheduled for release later in 2009 on an album presently titled Skyline.

In a interview, Martin talked about the recording of the album and some of the musicians working with him.

"Rahim Al Haj is playing on a couple songs and I'm working with a lot of jazz musicians," he said.  "Some of them are old friends of mine and some of them are new people that I'm working with.  I'm noticing that as the songs are coming to me and as we're recording them, they're coming from all over the world as far as influences go and it's just because of those past travels and those experiences that just sort of build up in your being and then they come out as this form of expression."

Ordained in the practice of Soto Zen, Martin drew his inspiration for the album title from those studies.

"Zenga is actually a painting tradition in Zen that I've studied," he said.  "The funny thing is I actually painted my own album cover and I painted the album cover before we started recording the album. 

"Zenga is a spontaneous expression of shape and color, often times it 's depicted with a circle, the Zen circle which is called an enzo.  That's one of the main themes of that style of painting but really you can paint anything."

If all goes according to plan, Skyline will be the third Martin release of 2009.  Tuatara, the band he co-founded with R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, released a collaboration with poet Coleman Barks called The Here & The Gone earlier this year.  Shortly after releasing that album, he finished the final mix of Zenga and is currently in the process of putting the finishing touches on Skyline.

Here is the complete tracklisting for Zenga:

  1. Yemonja, Mother Of Oceans
  2. Roll The Bones
  3. Demon Lover
  4. Firefly
  5. Kronos
  6. Obatala, Father of Skies
  7. Che Viva
  8. Alhambra
  9. Dragon Skin
  10. Shapeshifter
  11. Nosoroma, Child of God

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