|Where in Our Woods|
Elephant Micah — Where in Our WoodsBirth name: Joseph O’Connell
Album release: 20 January 2015
Record Label: Western Vinyl
1. By the Canal 2:59
2. No Underground 3:23
3. Albino Animals 5:36
4. Slow Time Vultures 7:30
5. Demise of the Bible Birds 2:50
6. Monarch Gardeners 5:53
7. Light Side 3:14
8. Rare Beliefs 4:16
◊ Songs from around 2006 — 07
◊ Recorded 2012–14
◊ Joseph O’Connell
◊ Matthew O’Connell
◊ Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy
◊ Arrangements by Joseph O’Connell with Matthew O’Connell
◊ Vocals and various instruments by Joseph O’Connell
◊ Percussion by Matthew O’Connell
◊ Harmony vocals by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy
◊ RECORDINGS AND MIXING Mike Bridavsky, Russian Recording Bloomington, IN
◊ MASTERING Joe Lambert, Brooklyn, NY
◊ By day, Elephant Micah’s Joseph O'Connell works as a folklorist, documenting the local culture of southern Indiana and other Midwest regions. Not surprisingly, his songs seem to emerge from habits of travel and observation. Their account of the phenomenal world is as vivid as it is mysterious, equal parts ethnographic fact and fable.
◊ For the past 14 years, O’Connell has quietly self–released his work on CD–R and limited LPs, sometimes collaborating with the psych–folk imprint Time–Lag Records or other very small labels. Despite the project’s almost secretive status, Elephant Micah has repeatedly caught the attention of NPR, and has been championed by an impressive cohort of like–minded artists, including Jason Molina, Patterson Hood, Hiss Golden Messenger, and Dark Dark Dark.
◊ Over time, O’Connell’s songwriting has grown in confidence and intensity, while maintaining its signature restraint. Where in Our Woods, the 12th Elephant Micah album and the first for Western Vinyl, is the fruit of this long–term creative progress.
◊ A painstaking work of minimalism, Where in Our Woods is defined by its limited palette. The arrangements foreground nylon–string guitar and an antique portable pump organ. A stripped– down drum set (played by Matthew O’Connell, Joe’s brother), a baritone ukulele, a toy recorder, and harmony vocals (sung by Will Oldham, a friend of and key influence on O’Connell) round out the sound. This sparse ensemble leaves O’Connell’s voice room to breathe, while elevating and magnifying the poetry of his songs.
◊ The album follows an ensemble cast of human and animal characters as they negotiate the supernatural and the mundane: “Light Side” catalogues a friend’s search for sublime experience through a self–described “redneck mysticism” involving in drugs, sex, and travel. “Rare Beliefs” and “Demise of the Bible Birds” explore the world of a "Bible Bird Man" from Noblesville, Indiana, who trained exotic birds to perform stunning Christian–themed stunts. “Albino Animals” is a modern day journalistic ballad, summarizing three stories found in one edition of O'Connell's hometown newspaper: readers responding to the recent slaying of an albino deer, husband–and–wife meth cooks escape federal prosecution based on an error in legal process, and a rower with local roots attempts a transatlantic passage that ends in disaster.
◊ The album closes with “Slow Time Vultures,” which was inspired by the descent of hundreds of migrating vultures on O'Connell's parents’ farm in southern Indiana. At the time of this avian congress, state government was instituting the observance of daylight savings time for the first time in Indiana. As O’Connell explains, "Maybe it goes without saying that the unexplained appearance of a sky full of vultures might seem like a harbinger of doom. I wondered if it related to the time change. At its core, this song is in the tradition of American country songs that express indignation toward the idea of progress." Throughout the album, O'Connell deftly transforms the stuff of everyday American life into a series of entrancing meditations on culture, nature, religion, and modernity. :: http://westernvinyl.com/
◊ Elephant Micah is a musical band or stage name of southern Indiana songwriter and multi–instrumentalist Joseph O'Connell. Recording mostly at home, O’Connell has produced an eclectic body of work since beginning the project in 2000. Elephant Micah’s inconsistently available music has become a cult favorite among some lo–fi/indie and folk rock audiences.
◊ O'Connell has released recordings with BlueSanct Records, the experimental-leaning Time–Lag Records, and a number of other very small labels. In addition, he has issued several short–run CDs on his own LRRC (Luddite Rural Recording Cooperative) imprint, also home to music by collaborator Jason Henn.
◊ In 2005, Elephant Micah shared bills with Jason Molina's Magnolia Electric Company during a string of shows in the United Kingdom.
◊ Low Energy Dance Music (2002, Landmark Records)
◊ The Untied States of Elephant Micah (CD–R) (Original release) (2002, Orphanology)
◊ Elephant Micah, Your Dreams Are Feeding Back (2003, BlueSanct Records)
◊ The Untied States of Elephant Micah (Reissue) (2004, BlueSanct Records)
◊ Elephant Micah and the Palmyra Palm (CD–R) (2004, Time–Lag Records)
◊ Elephant Micah and the Loud Guitars (CD–R) (2004, Time–Lag Records)
◊ Elephant Micah and the Agrarian Malaise (CD–R) (2005, Time–Lag Records)
◊ Futile Sessions (CD–R) (2005, LRRC)
◊ Hindu Windmills (2006 [Vinyl], 2007 [CD], Time–Lag Records)
◊ Exiled Magicians (2008, Third Uncle Records)
◊ Elephant Micah Plays the Songs of Bible Birds (2010, Time–Lag Records)
◊ Echoer’s Intent (2010, Time–Lag Records)
◊ Louder Than Thou (2012, Paradise of Bachelors Records)
◊ Globe Rush Progressions (2013, Product of Palmyra Records)
◊ Where In Our Woods (2015, Western Vinyl)
◊ Lost Sense Recollected (Tape) (2001, LRRC)
◊ Home of Astronauts 7” EP (2004, Third Uncle Records)
◊ Tropical Depression (2006, LRRC)
◊ Embarrassment of Riches (2006, LRRC)
◊ Alsatian Sunlight (2007, self–released)
◊ Equine Emblem 7” (2008, The Great Pop Supplement)
◊ In Midnight / Ocean Floor 7” (2008, L’Animaux Tryst)
◊ The Mayor of Rocky Ripple (2011, Palmyra)
◊ Mingus Plays Electric Guitar (7” EP w/ Jason Henn) (2003, LRRC)
|Where in Our Woods|