Max ZT & Dan Whitehouse announce debut duo album

Max ZT & Dan Whitehouse
Photograph by Pete Millson

New York’s celebrated Max ZT (House of Waters), and Tokyo/Black Country’s lauded Dan Whitehouse combine their inventive energy to present their debut album Ten Steps. ZT, the hammered dulcimer player (compared to Hendrix) and the ever-regenerating Whitehouse, use spoken word and virtuoso playing to create impactful pieces with a belief in the healing power of music at its core.

The collection Ten Steps (to be released on vinyl and all digital platforms on September 8th) shows how effectively they have fed off each other’s unique creativity to deliver stunning recordings plus a live UK tour in October promising to deliver captivating, immersive performances.

The pair originally met and collaborated online via the Womex award-winning international Global Music Match scheme, organised by English Folk Expo in partnership with 19 other countries, toured live in the UK (November 2021) and collaborated to record this beautiful album.

Ten Steps side A (tracks 1-5) was recorded between New York City and Tokyo and completed during 2021, while side B (tracks 6-7) captures Max ZT’s improvisations performed at their meditative live gigs in November of that same year, which inspired Dan’s own words and music.

ZT is known as an innovator, although he can trace his roots back to Irish folk music. He creates complex and beautiful compositions from a much-expanded set of influences. Studying in Senegal with the Cissokho griot family and in India, where he received a grant to study under the santoor master Pandit Shivkumar Sharma. Part of the celebrated trio House Of Waters, ZT is signed solo to Six Degrees Records.

He expanded on the duo’s approach by saying:

“Our record and our live shows incorporate elements of improvisation; we try to be in the moment as much as possible. If you can get your fluency/your vocabulary and your grammar into a place where you can just talk and just be that’s heaven. We rarely get such moments of stillness in life.”

Dan Whitehouse has, across seven solo albums, gained a golden reputation as “a fine songwriter, a unique vocal talent and a talented multi-instrumentalist/ performer” (Maverick) and for his “subtle and delicate melodies” (The Sunday Times). Nominated for the FATEA 2022 Innovation Award, Dan has become known for his drive to renew, re-invent and imagine, and the Ten Steps project see him push boundaries further, stepping into the arena of improvisation and spoken word.

Dan added:

“We are all interconnected. The best collaborations seek out differences. You have to look inwards to find fluency within and consistently look outside yourself. When Max plays it feels like the ground, or the sky, is opening up. I see things that weren’t there before. My perspective is changed. Ultimately I think that’s why we turn to art – be that a record, picture or a film – we yearn to get outside of our own heads and see the world from another’s perspective. This is what I hope Max ZT and I are bringing to with Ten Steps- a deep magnetic field.”

Artists’ websites:

‘Shizuka’ – official video:

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