In May 2022, John Baldwin released Change, his second studio album as a standalone multi-hyphenate. He is in full control on the record. Every string, snare, sound and synth — glistening and punctuated — is performed by Baldwin. The album zones in on time: taking it, wasting it, and watching it pass hours, days and months on end. It leaves listeners contemplating where their days go, and perhaps, the time it took The Salt Lick Records artist to compose such a project. If this past week’s live video arrangement of “Take Your Time,” the album’s sixth track, is any indication of his process, Change could be an album that continues to grow, long after its release.
A commonality of any live arrangement — as it pertains to a previously released song — is oftentimes a question: how can the song evolve, while remaining true to its foundational recording? We’re not talking remixes here. Instead, it’s an iteration that doesn’t stray far from its roots. Jason Edelstein of The Salt Lick Records entered the “experiment” alongside Baldwin with a similar vision. Shot in their cozy studio deep in Denver’s Little Saigon district, the pair each keyed in on the idea of a showcase. Baldwin is captured playing drums, bass, guitar, vocals, keys, flute, tongue drum and tambourine. On one occasion, he appears in each of the thirds of the frame, singing harmonies that support himself. This iteration of “Take Your Time” is noticeably loud and beautifully natural when compared to its strong original version. Baldwin plays drunken bass notes with hyper-focus. He fills pockets of space with complimentary drum patterns. Each instrument is a different shot, and in each shot, Baldwin sports a different outfit — a blue cut-off sweatshirt with plaid pajama bottoms, and a plethora of print-laden button-downs.
A peak moment inside the fresh new arrangement comes at the video’s tail end. Edelstein adjusts for light perfectly — a symmetrical shot of a flute-playing, mushroom hat-wearing Baldwin rests in the forefront. Behind him, the warm, glowing outside bleeds through a wood-framed window. There’s a lot going on in just under four minutes, but the layering, commitment to quality production and seamless, creative improvisation (on an already strong track) begs for more of these by John Baldwin.
In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) is an ongoing series for 303 Magazine where we talk about the music you may have missed when it initially dropped. Have something you think we missed? Email inquiries for the series to email@example.com.