There is a small town in the heart of the Swannanoa Valley in Western North Carolina called
Black Mountain. Between 1933 and 1956, it attracted many of the world’s most incendiary
minds; drawn to the area by a rare creative energy. Folks like John Cage and Buckminster
Fuller and Albert Einstein all came to live and work and study at Black Mountain College, an
educational community in which the artistic process was considered fundamental to the
progress of humanity. One student remarked that it was a "crazy and magical place, and the
electricity of all the people seemed to make for a wonderfully charged atmosphere, so that one
woke up in the mornings excited and a little anxious, as though a thunderstorm were sweeping
Seth Kauffman knows the galvanizing power of Black Mountain. There in his small studio,
tucked away in the shadow of Mount Mitchell, he strives to conjure the aural magic that
recording gurus have followed around the planet; spiritual moments of song that reach deep into
the listener’s psyche. Such as the sound of untrained human voices locking together in unique
harmony. Flashes that elicit a feeling akin to the fervor millions of adolescents experienced the
first time they heard the woolly opening riff to “Satisfaction.” Kauffman often channels these
sparks and so luminaries such as My Morning Jacket’s Jim James have taken a shine to him.
Now others are trying to coax what powers they can from his shaman robe. Dan Auerbach
recently brought Kauffman to Nashville, TN, to lend his many talents to a handful of projects.
And just last night, Jenny Lewis asked him onstage at the Orange Peel in Asheville, NC, to play
the violin with her band. However, Kauffman saves the lion’s share for himself.
Body Questions invites the masses into the world of Floating Action, the untethered space he
inhabits as a songwriter. One in which Kauffman is compelled to challenge the limits of
composition. After the junkyard apology of “(Taking Me) A Little While” clears the air,
“Unrevenged” drifts in like a thunderhead. The music that follows is a wholly original trek through
the sublime, all the disparate sonic bits miraculously interwoven. A challenging and exhilarating
sensory experience constructed on extraordinary pop songs. Bodies glisten as they dance
under the sun to the triumphant, Pan-African grooves of “Earth Shackles.” Patrons throw money
at the band in a cosmic juke joint, hoping to hear the sultry shuffle of “Hide Away Too Long” one
more time. A lonely balladeer searches for answers amongst the choir of constellations that
illuminates “Couldn’t Be Yourself.” This record is lyrically cinematic, structurally sound and
texturally intoxicating. Years into the future, it’s possible teenagers will mimic the subtle guitar
moves and intricate polyrhythms of Body Questions in their bedrooms. Floating Action’s place is
a soothsayer’s dimension. But the portal is open. The time is at hand.