You've started to hear the name Jherek Bischoff around these parts (and by these parts, we mean the Brassland site), but allow us to take a moment to refresh your collective memories. The songwriter, producer, performer and composer has been called a “pop polymath” (The New York Times), a “Seattle phenom” (The New Yorker), and “the missing link between the sombre undertones of Ennio Morricone and the unpredictability of John Cale" (NME). We're trying not to get too braggy over here, but we are proud to be releasing this music and excited to finally announce the June 5th release date of his new album, Composed!
You can download a track from the first "single" right now:
This song will be released as a limited edition 7" vinyl record in an addition of 1,000 copies for Record Store Day. 500 hand-numbered copies will be available in the UK, 500 more in the US. On the 7", David Byrne collaborates on "Eyes," as sumptuous a slice of meta-pop as anything he has produced in years, while Parenthetical Girls' Zac Pennington and French singer/actor Soko duet on the buoyant "Young And Lovely." Neither of these songs will be sold digitally until the album is released. You'll have to buy the 7" to hear them.
Overall, Composed is a meticulously arranged album of nine orchestral pieces featuring guest vocalists on almost every track, a list of luminaries including the aforementioned David Byrne, Zac Pennington (Parenthetical Girls), and Soko -- as well as Caetano Veloso, Mirah, Carla Bozulich (Evangelista, Geraldine Fibbers), Craig Wedren (Shudder To Think) and Dawn McCarthy (Faun Fables). Avant ringers like Deerhoof's Greg Saunier and Wilco's Nels Cline provide instrumental solos.
Fore a more holistic picture of the release, here is a preview video featuring audio excerpts from the entire album. (It's on Vimeo too if you roll that way.):
And here is the tracklist:
1. Introduction (Defeat)
2. Eyes (Jherek Bischoff & David Byrne)
3. The Secret Of The Machines (with Caetano Veloso & Greg Saunier)
4. The Nest (with Mirah Zeitlyn & Paris Hurley)
5. Blossom (Jherek Bischoff with Nels Cline)
6. Your Ghost (with Craig Wedren)
7. Counting (with Carla Bozulich)
8. Young And Lovely (with Zac Pennington & Soko)
9. Insomnia, Death And The Sea (with Dawn McCarthy)
Unlike many big-budget classical productions, Jherek took a particularly DIY approach to the record, first composing the album on a ukulele then producing, engineering, and mastering it all by himself, achieving an orchestral sound without the orchestral cost.
“I recorded each individual musician of the ‘orchestra’ in their own living rooms,” says Bischoff, “And then I layered each instrument--sometimes one violinist playing one part twenty times--until it was the size of a huge orchestra. I spent the summer riding my bike from house to house recording each musician. I finished the album by taking a road trip to record all the singers in person, except for Caetano Veloso and David Byrne, who recorded their own parts at home.”
The result bares traces of Jherek's past playing in DIY bands, his desire to make great pop music, and a love affair with the potential of the orchestra, all informed by his deep familiarity of a catalog of compositional ideas & technique. Particularly notable is Brazilian Tropicalismo legend Veloso guesting on "The Secret Of The Machines" singing lyrics adapted from a Rudyard Kipling poem, though each of the guests leave their own unique print on the remarkable whole. It took years to make this record but it was totally worth it.
All you New Yorkers will get the chance to see Jherek perform at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Crossing Brooklyn Ferry festival on May 3rd.
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