A Special Seated Show with

Dawn Richard & Spencer Zahn

Saturday, November 02
Doors: 7:30pm | Show: 8pm


Dawn Richard and Spencer Zahn share a common collaborative ethos, a genuine sense of musical curiosity, and a cosmopolitan eagerness to escape the conventions of genre. That shared vision first brought them together on 2022’s Pigments—icy and warm, stripped-down and grand, familiar and otherworldly—and now it has reunited them for Quiet in a World Full of Noise.

By turns intimate, soul-baring, spectral, and startling, Quiet in a World Full of Noise blends atmospheric and orchestral soundscapes with mellifluous soul, jazz, and journalistic vocalizing—driving it all home with stark, confessional lyricism. The new album finds Richard at her most raw and exposed. This year, Richard’s musician father experienced mini strokes while being diagnosed with cancer; last year, her cousin Cisco was fatally shot seven times in New Orleans. Richard channels the emotional impact of these traumatic experiences of loss into her lyrics and vocal performances, which are left bare and human here, raw and unprocessed across the album. Quiet expands the definitions of what constitutes progressive, avant-garde R&B by rewriting them altogether.

On paper, Richard and Zahn’s audacious, impressionistic musical collaborations feel like a surprising match. Richard, a New Orleans–reared visionary, has had an improbable journey from late 2000s reality television and mainstream pop with girl group Danity Kane to become one of the most prolific, experimental, and visible indie R&B singer-songwriters of the last decade and a half, with seven solo albums under her belt. Zahn is an East Coast–raised multi-instrumentalist and composer working at the intersections of jazz, Americana, classical, and ambient pop. His growing solo discography includes People of the Dawn, Sunday Painter, Pale Horizon, and Statues I & II, as well as the duo’s first release, Pigments. “Pigments was one of the best projects I’ve ever made,” Richard says, “and the furthest I’ve ever been pushed as an artist.” The album was a critical hit, hailed as Best New Music by Pitchfork and receiving praise from Stereogum as Album of the Week, NPR Music, Bandcamp Daily, The Fader, Bitter Southerner, and Edition, among many other publications.

The making of its follow-up, Quiet in a World Full of Noise, began in 2023 in upstate New York. Fresh from a break-up, Zahn sat at his piano and poured himself into writing and recording instrumental compositions. “I wrote all these stream-of-consciousness pieces on piano, and they were eerie, spacious piano tracks,” he says. He used a piano that had been unconventionally tuned to the room rather than to standard pitch. These oddly-tuned, eerie instrumental recordings were never intended to be an album. Six months later, he listened to the recordings again and sent them to Richard. She immediately recognized their potential and said, “Oh, this is the next album.”

Richard went into the studio the next day and wrote and recorded melodies and lyrics to Zahn’s piano recordings. Zahn brought in gifted musicians like Bryan Senti on strings (violin, viola, and violoncello da spalla) and CJ Camerieri on brass (French horn, flugelhorn, and trumpet). In some cases, like on the track “Life in Numbers,” Zahn used only the original first-take piano recording and scratch vocal, resulting in an intimate close-up of both Richard and Zahn.

In its second movement, Quiet’s sound concept becomes fuller and more expansive. While Pigments featured a smaller, more insular group of musicians, Quiet branches out much further, even bringing in the 26-person Budapest Film Orchestra—recorded remotely at 4 a.m.—for the dramatic “Moments for Stillness.” In the album’s third act, spanning the final three tracks “To Remove,” “Ocean Past,” and “Try,” the arrangements become more stripped down and personal. The album’s dynamic movement and intentional sequencing result in a project that feels both intimate and expansive, a bold experiment in emotional storytelling.

“Life in Numbers” cycles through a series of impressionistic memories. Richard describes the song as “a testament to the things I’ve struggled with”—including her once turbulent relationship with her mother, and her father’s illness.

“I remember being at home in New Orleans and I just felt like life was attacking me,” she recalls. “I went into the studio—I did not write this down—and purged it out, and then I didn’t change anything after it. It was honestly the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Our family has a distorted view of therapy; I’ve had to do a lot of healing on my own. So this was a moment of severe openness, sharing that moment with the world. But again, for some reason, when I work with Spencer, there’s a vulnerability that I tap into that I don’t do with anyone else. And I’m unafraid to try.”

With Quiet, Zahn and Richard have made an album that serves as a blueprint for stillness, simplicity, and the art of working across differences in the midst of a polarizing cultural climate. Richard describes Quiet in a World Full of Noise as grounding: “Right now, everyone’s a little bit overwhelmed. I hope that this will be the record that people put on when they need the opportunity for reflection, when they need the stillness in their lives, now more than ever.”

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