Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Label: Polyvinyl Records
Of Montreal veterans may approach this album, as I did, with excitement and expectations for a mélange of bold, curious, and catchy tunes. Instead, Paralytic Stalks – their eleventh album – presents itself as a challenging patchwork of peculiar hymns and raw lyrical admissions, sprinkled with a few catchy hooks.
Those who became acquainted with the band in their early days as part of the Elephant 6 Collective know that evolution is nothing new to Of Montreal. What may surprise, though, is just how far Paralytic Stalks strays from the accessible, indie-pop ballads of yore, like The Party’s Crashing Us Now.
Kevin Barnes, the multi-talented vocalist and instrumentalist behind this nine-track album, pushes the envelope to extremes in this genre-bending release that ambles from gaudy ‘70s disco to pseudo-country twang. It’s apparent from track one that Barnes has used this album as a personal therapy session, unleashing his innermost thoughts as if he’s on the therapists’ couch.
Spiteful Intervention starts off with a somber, imposing verse before segueing to an energetic, camp chorus. Despite the melodic shift changes, Barnes maintains his classic party trick of juxtaposing morose lyrics on a twee musical background as he exclaims, “I spend my waking hours haunting my life / I made the one I love start crying tonight / And it felt good”. If you’re head-bobbing to the beat then these tidbits of penance may easily slip by, but they shouldn’t because this is what Of Montreal does best.
Next, you’re time warped to the age of disco in Dour Percentage, which draws heavy influence from the Bee Gees. Fast-paced, energetic and bordering on disco- bubblegum pop, Barnes emulates the signature falsetto voices of the brothers Gibb to a tee. The track stands out from others in that it is enjoyably chipper, if a bit ridiculous. Fans of the band’s older track ‘Brush, Brush, Brush’ will appreciate this ditty and have it stuck in their heads in no time.
A recurring theme across the album is that of love and honesty about relationships – including that of Barnes’ wife, Nina. We Will Commit Wolf Murder is the mesmerizing masterpiece of the album. With so much puzzling anarchy, this is one of the few songs that is very well structured. Barnes writes an open letter of love and yearning as he croons the line, “Lately you’re the only dancer I believe in” with an emotional credibility that leaves the heart heavy. It manages to tightrope beautifully between soft cantos and energetic bridges to create a symphony that is simultaneously galvanizing and analgesic.
The theme of love continues in Malefic Dowery, which describes a relationship that has turned mundane over time, evidenced by the lyrics “Now we’re a bore, we’re afternoon TV”, sung with palpable resignation. As the song reaches its peak, Barnes hauntingly sings “Once more I turn to my crotch for counsel / and it won’t disappoint me”, leading to questions of what might have been in his bloodstream.
The closing track, Ye, Renew the Plaintiff, moves away from the more sober songs above into an angry, jumpy piece that is nearly nine minutes long. Dedicated to Barnes’ wife, this honest tune reads like a diary entry before ending with a two minute long kaleidoscopic outro. While making this song was probably cathartic for Barnes, it’s more than a chore to listen to as you trudge through his sonic mental
Barnes has stated in interviews that Paralytic Stalks is meant to be taken in its entirety. The overall experience of the album leaves no grey zone. Patience to process it as a whole, rather than the sum of its parts, might be asking a lot of most listeners. Bottom line: you’ll either find it avant-garde and eccentric, or messy and unmerciful.
Rating: 5/5 stars
Label: Sub Pop
Beach House’s Alex Scally describes Bloom as “a huge crystal, spinning in a cave with Star Wars figurines.” The quintessential summer album, Bloom is heavy on melody – elevating the bands breezy sonic themes into an intoxicating collection of atmospheric organ and reverb-drenched guitar songs, still grounded by the bands signature vocals.
Listen : Beach House : Myth (via SoundCloud)
In 1991, two works appeared – Douglas Coupland’s novel Generation X, and Richard Linklater’s film Slacker—both, in Linklater’s words, “speaking about the generation that doesn’t want to be spoken for,”(1) the generation born during the tumult of the 1960s. At the same time that Slacker and Generation X were reaping headlines, an equally important (though much less self-conscious) generational statement was unfolding: chapters of Daniel Clowes’ Like A Velvet Glove Cast In Iron had been appearing in his singlecreator showcase Eightball since late 1989.Linklater describes a Dead Kennedys show in 1984 that galvanized him: “In a very short time I went from thinking (as I had been told over and over again) that my generation had nothing to say to thinking it not only had everything to say but was saying it in a completely new way.”
Statistically it is a generation that is less than one percent of the population, the flat line after the bulge of the baby boom. It is the first generation with a lower median income than their parents. It is a generation raised on t v and conspicuous on t v. It is a generation that grew up with not only the cold war, but with global warming, terrorism, and metal detectors in their schools.
The album Smash, by the Orange County band Offspring, has sold over 3 million copies; it is the largest-selling independent album to date. The band members’ average age is 28 and, in my opinion, their success is due in no small measure to lyrics such as the following: We’re not the ones who leave the homeless in the street at night We’re not the ones who’ve kept minorities and women down….
We’re not the ones who let the children starve in faraway lands
We’re not the ones who made the streets unsafe to walk at night….
But the weight of the world is on our shoulders….” (2)
Much less earnest and far more satirical is a one-page strip in Eightball called “Who Would You Rather Fuck: Ginger or Mary Ann?” (3) Here Dan Clowes discourses on twenty-something culture through the mouths of slacker characters created by fellow cartoonist Peter Bagge:
“It is a culture of contrived contrariness—we listen to ineptly performed, discordant music and wear ugly, ill-fitting clothes…. Our response to a culture of sadism is to masochistically scar and wound ourselves… .[W]e are … a toothless hybrid, removing the basically serious intent from the movements of the late 60s and late 70s…. We have extracted varied aspects from those two cultures (“alternative media” and self-conscious sloppiness from the former and guiltless worship of junk from the latter) and formed an aggregate that is meaningful only in that it indicates clearly that ours is an empire in sharp decline…. [W]e will now sink into oblivion, to be remembered (perhaps) only by some even more idiotic future generation who will morbidly imitate our mannerisms in a regressive attempt to avoid the horrors that surely lie before
Many of Clowes’ stories are similarly short, satirical, and self-referential. His first ongoing series featured a hep private eye named Lloyd Llewellyn, inhabiting an eternal and highly stylized 1960. His short work has appeared in Weirdo, Young Lust, National Lampoon, and the Village Voice; one of his most widely printed (though uncredited) works was the design of the OK Soda can, a product targeted specifically at the perceived Generation X market. It is, however, in the dark, complex, and Kafkaesque novel Like A Velvet Glove Cast In Iron (completed in 1993) that Clowes creates his most sustained and coherent (though some might argue the latter) vision.
We know very little about Clay Loudermilk, the main character of Velvet Glove, but we can make some inferences. He appears to be in his twenties, has no apparent income or responsibilities. He was once married to a beautiful black-haired woman who left him without any real explanation; his search for her forms the spine of the novel’s plot.
The story opens with Clay in the audience at a porn theater, watching a film called Like A Velvet Glove Cast In Iron. It contains no sex or nudity, but features people in bizarre costumes involved in bondage and s&m. At the end of the film, a masked dominatrix reveals herself to be Clay’s ex-wife. Clay learns the film was made by a Dr. Wilde and his company, “Interesting Productions,” located in nearby Gooseneck Hollow. After a series of bizarre and painful adventures, he locates the house of one of the cast members, and actually sees his ex-wife through the window. He takes an apartment across the street and waits another week before trying to approach her.
In the meantime, fate catches up with both of them. On the run from a sadistic killer named Geat, Clay stumbles upon the headquarters of Interesting Productions. There he watches, less with horror than with overwhelming sadness and despair, their latest film. It is called Barbara Allen, and it includes footage of his ex-wife being murdered and buried. Clay makes his way to the gravesite, where Geat literally dismembers him, leaving him armless, legless, and powerless.
In a long interview in The Comics Journal, Clowes talks about the origins of the story: “It was based on two or three dreams I had had at the time, and one that my ex-wife had had recurring throughout her life.” Later he says, “A lot of stuff is taken directly from dreams I’ve had. A lot of it is just daydreams, where … I can just have these thoughts that are uncontrolled by common logic, and then I start to see things in a different way. It’s sort of the same thing as when you wake up from a long dream and you, for one minute, see the absurdity of the world.”
That absurdity is most obvious in the novel’s supporting cast: Laura, a sixtyyear- old dog with no orifices, who lives on a syringe of water a day; Billings, Laura’s most recent owner, with his failed hair transplant like a miniature forest and his obsession with “Mr. Jones,” a round-headed novelty character; Tina, a spectacularly deformed dolphin-woman, bright green in color, with pop eyes and scales.
From the beginning, the novel is drenched in surrealism and an idiosyncratic, dreamlike logic. On page 12, Clay seeks information about the
film from a swami who holds court in the men’s room of the theater and gives accurate and detailed answers to any question asked of him. On page 13 he borrows a car from a friend who has had his eyeballs removed due to an infection and replaced with “rare Asiatic sea crustaceans.”(5)
Causality in the novel operates at a level that is not accessible to Clay, or apparent to the reader. Driving his friend’s car from its underground parking garage, Clay is accosted by a drunken attendant who spews whiskey directly into Clay’s mouth. As a result, Clay is arrested two pages later by two omnisexual policemen in sunglasses who offer him a deal: fight them, or risk “ten years at the big rock.” At the conclusion of their savage beating, one of the policemen carves an image into the bottom of Clay’s foot: the roundheaded novelty character, “Mr. Jones.” As a result, Clay buys a figurine of “Mr. Jones” at a novelty store, which attracts the attention of Billings, collector and conspiracy theorist. Billings’s orifice-less dog, Laura, chooses to follow Clay even though he tries to send him (her?) away. As a result, Billings believes Clay has kidnapped the animal and sets the madman, Geat, on his trail.
There is no reason to believe that Velvet Glove is a parable or an intellectual puzzle to be solved. On the contrary, Clowes seems to have expended considerable effort to keep from pinning down the meaning of the work, to the extent that too much planning seemed “manipulative and contrived” to him. “It would be really hard to mystify my audience when I knew exactly what was going to happen,” he told the Comics Journal. “So I’ve been trying to write it while keeping myself mystified as much as the readers … trying to see what kind of images and ideas excite me and scare me and affect me emotionally…. And I’m also trying to write an honest narrative, a narrative that works by its own rules and goes under its own steam rather than … contriving things…. And then, on some level, it’s kind of a social satire, a comment on the way I see the world in my bleakest moments.”What is available to the careful reader is a consistent, andmeaningful, world view. That world view is occasionally bleak indeed, as when Billings rants: “The world is a shithole, filled with swine and sheep.” And this is certainly a valid reading of the story. The novel is filled with heartless, greedy characters like Geat and Dr. Wilde, and compassionate victims like Clay and Tina, characters who act, as Clowes says in the interview, “according to their own humanity—or lack thereof.”
Another thread that runs throughout the story concerns gender relations. Clowes took the title, a reversal of the “iron fist in a velvet glove” cliché, from the Russ Meyer film Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill. “I still don’t understand what it means … basically … it’s something that’s couched in femininity, but it’s actually very tough and masculine.”
Gender roles are very much at issue throughout the story. After his beating at the hands of the (sexually very non-traditional) police, Clay is rescued by a man named Godfrey—”God” to the members of his cult. Godfrey’s holy mission is to bring about “Harum Scarum,” his version of Helter Skelter, in which, as one of his followers explains, “there’s gonna be a worldwide war between man and woman and woman’s gonna win…. The new world will be one people, one gender, one culture. Esperanto, the universal language will be spoken….”Clay is assigned to murder columnist Ann Landers, but escapes. Later in the novel, Godfrey’s revolution does in fact take place, with mobs of women running in the streets, beating men up, stripping them, and insulting them. When last we see Godfrey he is in the White House, and his followers are holding Bill Clinton at gunpoint.
The macrocosm reflects the tensions present throughout the story: Haskell, a rival of Billings in the pursuit of the “Mr. Jones” mystery, explains to Clay that “only male Caucasians with certain character patterns” can achieve the mental frequency needed to contact Mr. Jones (p. 97). (Conspiracy fans will enjoy the scene where Billings, having seen the Mr. Jones figure carved in Clay’s foot, begins to demand, “What’s the frequency, Kenneth?”, a phrase allegedly used by a man who assaulted Dan Rather in New York, and the inspiration for a recent hit by the group R.E.M.) Billings consistently refers to the orificeless dog Laura as “he.” Geat, Clay’s ultimate assailant, abuses women and injects himself with testosterone (p. 79). A film poster in the offices of Interesting Productions shows a Popeye-like character over the title “No Use for Wimmen” (p. 107). Godfrey, who is clearly portrayed as a hypocrite and manipulator (he tells Clay, “we have no use for your pig play money” then two panels later asks his lieutenant “Where’s my change?”) is only ever seen naked, his penis in constant view.
The two most compassionate characters are much less sexually stereotyped. Clay, as his name suggests, is extremely malleable, allowing others to direct his moment-to-moment actions. At one point we even see him idly trying on a woman’s wig (p. 84), and his passive nature is the opposite of Geat’s aggression. Tina, the most emotional of all the characters, attempts to seduce Clay by laying her eggs in his bed (p. 52).
My preferred reading is to see the films in the novel as reality, and the filmmakers as personifications of the forces who shape our existence. The sight of his ex-wife as a character in a movie is the impetus for Clay’s quest. When he takes his quest too far, he becomes part of the movie himself—his dismembering forms the climactic scene in Dr. Wilde’s latest “Interesting Production.” The punch line is that the plots of Dr. Wilde’s films are dictated by a preadolescent, pipe-smoking girl whom he calls “Precious.” Her casual, spur-of-the-moment suggestion was the cause of the on-screen murder of Clay’s ex-wife, not to mention untold other deaths and savageries.
An extreme view might hold that Clay’s acts of compassion are the very cause of his undoing; his concern for his ex-wife, his kindness to Tina, and his adoption of Laura lead only to pain, humiliation, and finally mutilation. Gary Groth, Clowes’ interviewer, points out that “It’s a fallen world,” has become a catch phrase in Eightball. Clowes talks about his first experience with the punk scene in New York: “I thought, ‘Wow, this is made for me. This is really speaking to my generation.’ Basically, my attitude was that we were all going to be blown up soon, and it didn’t really matter. Life was hopeless….”
He perceives his audience as being “college kids and disenfranchised teenagers—basically what we were 10 years ago. That’s who I get letters
from.” And it is in that particular adjective, disenfranchised, that I believe the key to Velvet Glove lies.
The most striking thing about Clay Loudermilk, in retrospect, is his powerlessness. In the course of the story everything is taken from him—his borrowed car, his clothes, his wallet, his identity, finally even the use of his limbs. When he rents a room, the same room is rented again to another person, without Clay’s knowledge or consent. Even the object of his search, his ex-wife, is murdered virtually under his nose. He saw a body bag being carried out of the building across the street (p. 95) without realizing until muchlater that his ex-wife was inside. His powerlessness comes in part from lack of money and position, but mostly from his unwillingness to hurt others (e.g. Ann Landers). For this he is repeatedly punished.
But this is not a generational issue. It is an issue of power and enfranchisement. Just as it is unfair to brand an entire age group as “slackers”
or “generation X,” it is equally unfair to assume that only young people are disenfranchised. Crippled and powerless people of all ages are on the fringes of Velvet Glove—Tina’s mother, an alcoholic with broken dreams of a mysterious lover; Sal, Tina’s middle aged fellow waitress, with whom Tina escapes from reality in soap operas; a lonely, disfigured man on all fours (p. 66) who gives Clay directions; there is even a statue in the town square (p. 48) of a onearmed, one-legged man.
When Richard Linklater talks about the message his generation has to offer, he says, “each individual had to find it in their own way, and in the only place society had left for this discovery—the margins. I think that’s where Slacker
This is also where Velvet Glove takes place. And if it offers little in the way of false hope or artificial panaceas, it does hold out the reassurance that those of us who have been disenfranchised by our violent, doomed society are not alone.
by Lewis Shiner
(1) All Linklater quotes from Richard Linklater, “Introduction,” Slacker, St. Martin’s Griffin, 1992.
(2) Offspring, “Not the One,” Smash, Epitath/Ada, 1994.
(3 )Daniel Clowes, “Who Would You Rather Fuck: Ginger or Mary Ann?”, Eightball 13, 1994.
(4 ) All Clowes quotes from Gary Groth interview with Daniel Clowes, The Comics Journal 154, 1993. Sitcom 3
(5) All page numbers refer to Daniel Clowes, Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron, Fantagraphics, 1993.
We were then given Sennheisner headphones, motioned into the theater and seated in tiny “space pods” – [ side note: I probably should have worn sweatpants and not the skinniest pair of jeans I own, but I digress]. Kid Koala took the stage, accompanied by his daughter, Maple, sitting contently in the chair beside him. Then, with a giant smile, Kid Koala proceeded to blow every mind in the crowd, as he performed a magic show on his turntables that would make David Copperfield green. It is incredibly rare for a musician to give so much of themselves to the audience. While most Dj’s and musicians stand on stage trying to act as cool as humanly possible, Kid Koala appeared with no pretense; more like a friend – sitting in his living room – doing what he enjoys doing most. This was what made the show such an awesome experience.
I talked to Kid Koala a.k.a Eric San after the show and he let me in on some details for the upcoming Deltron 3030 Event II – the sequel to the legendary Deltron 3030 album- which will be released in July, as well as, 12 Bit Blues another album coming out on Ninja Tune in the fall.
Here is a song called “3 Bit Blues” which appears on the upcoming album 12 Bit Blues.
You can also listen to a couple songs off the Space-Cadet album below [disclaimer: the tracks on this album are so relaxing, I haven’t been able to make it through the album’s entirety without being lulled to sleep].
If you have the opportunity to check out Kid Koala’s “Space-Cadet Headphone Experience” show, you should not think twice. I left the show feeling so inspired, that I immediately went home and turned on my MPC [MIDI Production Center]. After a 2 month creative drought, I quickly chopped up some samples, remembering how good it feels to create music you can call your own.
Rating : 5/5 Stars
Label: Fat Possum
Spaceman Pierce has landed. Sweet Heart Sweet Light may amount to the best (certainly, the most accessible) Spiritualized album since 1997′s pill-infected Ladies and Genteman We Are Floating in Space. A surprisingly uplifting eulogy to classic rock’n’roll, elevated by sweeping church orchestras and choirs. This is less of a departure album, and more a refined statement. The album art, Huh?refers to Jason Pierce’s mental state while mixing this album over an eight-month brain-fogging hospital stint, fighting degenerative liver disease with experimental chemotherapy treatment. Rebounding from the experience, Pierce emerges anew – crystal clear and grounded. Singing, once again, about Jesus, fast cars, pimps, fire, pain, death and depression, but this time around with both feet on the ground.
Listen : Spiritualized : Hey Jane (via SoundCloud)
Update your iPod playlist this month for free, with over 50, sh!t hot, new – indie, electronic and hip-hop – tunes! We did the work for you. All of the freshest, most recent MP3 downloads on discosalt.com can be found below, in one clean, easy to grab list.
Just RIGHT CLICK on a track and SAVE LINK AS MP3 to your computer.
**Lazy-Man fix: Hit play on our MUSIC PLAYER here.
Check back at the end of next month for an all new buffet of ear candy. Enjoy!
Since Tame Impala guitarist Nick Albrook is also Pond’s chief songwriter and there are a few lineup overlaps, comparisons between the two Australian neo-psych pop groups are inevitable. Unlike Innerspeaker, super-producer Dave Fridmann doesn’t man the boards on this one, but the farmhouse production is affected with virtually the same tape echo, leslie speaker wobble, and vintage guitar tones. This puts the two on the same sonic playing field, but because of Pond’s willingness to take risks, Beard, Wives, Denim doesn’t feel distinctive or as firmly indebted to classic psychedelic music. With influences that range from David Crosby to Spiritualized, Pond’s songs are widely varied. “Fantastic Explosion of Time” is a grungy, garage rock fireball; “You Broke My Cool” injects ’50s style into ’70s glam; “Elegant Design” is a sly homage to funk, sung in a womanly falsetto, and “Moreno’s Blend” is a raw, acoustic porch jam. Every melody is blanketed in psychedelic sounds, giving a unified feel to the record, even if the music isn’t always easily containable. However, Pond is at their best when they go full force into watercolor psych, like in the fantastically trippy “When it Explodes,” and “Sorry I Was Under the Sky.” These songs could be B-sides to Innerspeaker. The only difference is that Tame Impala seem completely sincere about returning to the late ’60s/early ’70s. Pond is like an incorrigible younger sibling that is determined to learn by making mistakes. Both groups’ records are essential. [itunes]
Grimes :: Oblivion
You can also download the track “Angel” here, and grab a separate Visions bonus track called “Christmas Song,” featuring Grimes’ skills as a rap producer, on iTunes or pick up two more bonus tracks on the Canadian-only vinyl release from Arbutus.
Grab the H-Town Allstars – A$AP Rocky- “Purple Swag” remix feat. Paul Wall, Bun B & Killa Kyleon or download the whole LiveLovePurple tape for free here.
Stream Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros new single “Man on Fire” from their new album, Here. The song recently debuted on KCRW, and you can stream the replay below.
Here is out May 29th via Community Music/Vagrant.
[photo: Chris Hornbecker/IFC]
Portlandia’s Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein aren’t just bringing back the 90′s, but a whole range of music for the rock nerds, this week on NPR Music. Both Armisen and Brownstein have – spent enough time in bands (Brownstein in Wild Flag and Sleater-Kinney, Armisen in the punk group Trenchmouth) to see the humor in amateur DJ nights and men with Pearl Jam tattoos. On this week’s show, the two sit down with Bob Boilen to talk about the music they grew up with, their favorite Portland bands, and a fateful trip to the home of punk icon Glenn Danzig.- (NPR)
Filmmaker Jarred Alterman, takes you inside the phantasmagoric world of a family of artists, holed up in a centuries-old monastery in southeastern Portugal in CONVENTO; a SXSW, Edinburgh, and Rooftop Films documentary fave.
Prima ballerina Geraldine, photographer Kees, and their two boys Christiaan and Louis left Holland in 1980 to take up residence at the Convento São Francisco de Mértola. Strategically situated at the convergence of two rivers in southeastern Portugal, this vacant monastery was left decaying for centuries until the Zwanikken family transformed it with their eccentric and earthy endeavors. In the airy studio converted from the estate’s chapel, Christiaan builds kinetic sculptures from discarded electronics and the skulls and bones of deceased wildlife. Combining the family’s home movies with his own observant photography, Alterman artfully casts these fantastical creatures as supporting characters as they literally move across the landscape, animating the ancient grounds.
James Mercer may have some serious things to say about love and relationships over the course of his career with Portland-via-Albuquerque indie-rockers The Shins, but he seems to take it all in stride. Watch this James Mercer interview with…James Mercer from 2007 and check out his Britney Spears dance styling at 4:09. “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”
The new Shins album “Port Of Morrow” is available everywhere today! Pick up the new album at your local record store and receive a 4 song live acoustic EP with purchase. Find a store near you here: http://recordstoreday.com/
Or click to get your copy on iTunes: http://bit.ly/GBxcVe
In case you missed the chill-inducing new video for ‘The Wave’ (and next chapter in the Jean Noel story) from Miike Snow during SXSW, check it now on Noisey
The video is a continuation of a thread which began in their last video for “Paddling Out.” In that video, a group of unfortunates were abducted to space in an experiment to create a perfect human named Jean Noel. Following some pretty brutal chainsaw surgery, the video ended with Jean crashing to earth in a spaceship seemingly manned by classical-era twins. Both videos were directed by Swedish Director Andreas Nillson, who’s work includes MGMT and Fever Ray. Rumours the entire plot was cooked up after a real life after hours chain saw massacre are currently unconfirmed.
On Tuesday, March 20, Miike Snow will stop off in NYC at the Music Hall Of Williamsburg. Tickets are limited and Terminal 5 tickets holders have a limited pre-sale. General tickets are on-sale March 15th @ 12pm PST here:http://www.j.mp/ms-wburg-tickets
Subversive art collective Breton are about to release their Album “Other People’s Problems” in the next week and along with that they have a small tour lined up in the UK.
As a bunch of film-makers who turned musicians in order to soundtrack their visual work, who emerged from the south London squat party scene and named themselves after the father of surrealism Andre Breton, their approach to creating this album was never going to be predictable. Nor is the end result.
The album’s 11 tracks were fashioned from a field recording. Breton mastermind Roman Rappak obsessively records anything that attracts his attention – a building being demolished, a chance conversation, keys opening doors, the hypnotic motion of a New York subway car – and around these incidental sounds songs are created and a story is formed. His process of Automatic writing gives the songs their randomness and complex, dark layers of twisted beauty. Each listen divulges a little more – be it footsteps on a deserted hospital corridor, the ramblings of a beat poet on acid or the songs of prayer in a Belgian mosque.
It’s about randomness rather than traditional structure. Liberating the songs to take on a life of their own – Breton’s musical interpretation of the surrealist game “The Exquisite Corpse”. “Other People’s Problems’” seditious sound was formulated at the band’s creative HQ The Lab, a disused bank in Kennington, south London. It’s here that this outfit live, rehearse, and make their music. It’s also where they create their films, videos and remixes with meticulous attention to detail under their cinematic wing BretonLABS.
The band then took their album from the dingy grey urban surrounds of the Lab and relocated to Iceland for a week to record it at Sigur Ros’ studio in Reykjavik, which added yet another dimension to its sound. The final task was the addition of brass and strings. Breton sent some basic parts to German composer and personal hero Hauschka in Berlin, who recorded them with an orchestra of violinists, cellists and trumpet players to create an incredible piece of music worthy of a film score. He sent back the parts to Breton who then chopped up and sampled them into select album tracks – so the classical was redefined. And with that the album finally reached the end of its own game of “The Exquisite Corpse”.