|Jonathan Wilson||Rare Birds|
Jonathan Wilson — Rare Birds (March 2nd, 2018) •★• Ačkoli Wilson zdůraznil, že toto určitě není koncepční break~up album, je těžké si nepovšimnout, že obsah alba poukazuje na to, jaký je vztah od počátečního setkání (v neuvěřitelně krásné klavírní jízdě “Sunset Blvd”) až po osamělou introspekci traumatických následků (vlastně ve stejné písničce), i když s neodhadnutelnou chronologií. Skutečná, nebo alespoň představitelná námaha srdce zjevně přiměla Wilsona, aby ještě víc šel do hloubky a posílil svou schopnost skládat. Zatímco nezapomenutelné kousky alba „Fanfare“ z roku 2013 a „Gentle Spirit“ z roku 2011 naznačují, že Wilson by mohl být více úspěšný jako aranžér~konstruktér zvuků a konceptů, než jako autor zapamatovatelných písní, „Rare Birds“ je doslova nabušené silným materiálem. To samo o sobě říká, že nejpůsobivější moment alba — zuřivě gradující finále v písni „Mulholland Queen“ — je také pouze decentně ozdobená: tato podoba Wilsonovy písně nevyžaduje žádné další pulírování nebo dekorace. Přes své vady, “Rare Birds” je vzácný nález. Celá desetiletí měl Wilson možnost zahrát si na některých z nejznámějších scén, včetně Le Grande Rex v Paříži a Royal Albert Hall v Londýně. / Singer~songwriter and producer with a mellow style that echoes the Laurel Canyon sound of the late ‘60s. Jonathan Wilson was born in the mid~‘70s, but his music most clearly recalls an era whose heyday came a few years before he came into the world; the deep but gentle vibe of his songs is an echo of the Laurel Canyon mellow rock scene of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, and it’s no surprise that he found a home in the very same section of California years after the fact. This being his third album, I thought this could be the difficult one to follow the other two. But he’s managed to pull it off again, a cracker. He’s been touring within Roger Waters band and some of the music has rubbed off. Another fantastic album, especially through headphones. Five stars is too little.
•♠• Says Tillman, “Jonathan’s talent — “mastery” may be more apt — places him among a rarefied class of musical auteur. You’d be hard pressed to find a comparison, or contemporary for that matter, that would do his recent work justice.”
•♠• Rare Birds was produced by Jonathan Wilson and engineered by Dave Cerminara at Wilson’s own Fivestarstudios in Echo Park, Los Angeles. 2018 will see Wilson playing nearly 100 shows all over the world with Roger Waters and performing his own headline and festival appearances wherever, and whenever he can fit them in.
© •♠• Po úspěšném debutovém albu — Gentle Spirit, Jonathan Wilson a jeho skupina se vydali na turné s Tomem Pettym & Heartbreakers. Jako člen prvního evropského turné Heartbreakers měl Wilson po celá desetiletí možnost zahrát si na některých z nejznámějších scén, včetně Le Grande Rex v Paříži a Royal Albert Hall v Londýně. Ve snaze zdokumentovat život na cestě, byla pozvána Lauren Ward, aby tento zážitek natočila.
•♠• In the wake of a successful debut album, Gentle Spirit, Jonathan Wilson and his band embarked on tour supporting Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. As a member of the Heartbreakers’ first European tour in decades, Wilson had the chance to play some of the word’s most iconic stages, including Le Grande Rex in Paris and Royal Albert Hall in London. In an effort to document life on the road, Lauren Ward was invited along to photograph the experience.
•♠• Singer~songwriter and producer with a mellow style that echoes the Laurel Canyon sound of the late ‘60s. Gentle Spirit Tour
Location: Los Angeles, California
Album release: 2 Mar. 2018
Recording Location: Fivestar Studios, Los Angeles, CA
Record Label: Bella Union
01. Trafalgar Square 6:24
02. Me 4:49
03. Over the Midnight 8:16
04. There’s a Light 4:57
05. Sunset Blvd 5:44
06. Rare Birds 5:27
07. 49 Hairflips 5:10
08. Miriam Montague 4:42
09. Loving You 8:31
10. Living With Myself 6:46
11. Hard To Get Over 6:31
12. Hi Ho the Righteous 6:10
13. Mulholland Queen 5:21
• Adam Ayan Mastering
• Dan Bailey Drums, Electronic Drums
• Chris Bellman Cut
• Jake Blanton Bass, Guitar (Bass)
• Dave Cerminara Engineer, Mixing
• Lana Del Rey Vocals
• Drew Erickson Arp String Ensemble, Mellotron, Organ, String Arrangements
• Dan Horne Moog Bass
• Pete Jacobsen Cello
• John Kirby Mini Moog, Organ, Piano, Synthesizer
• Holly Laessig Vocals
• Tom Lea String Arrangements, Viola, Violin
• Greg Leisz Lap Steel Guitar, Pedal Steel Guitar
• Andrea Nakhla Artwork, Creative Director, Photography, Sleeve Design
• Ziad Rabie Saxophone
• Jeff Ramuno Add. Production, Mellotron, Moog Synthesizer, Piano, Shaker, Vocals
• Nicky Rheaume Project Manager
• Derek Stein Cello
• Josh Tillman Vocals
• Omar Velasco Vocals
• Joey Waronker Drums, Percussion
• Krystle Warren Vocals
• Jonathan Wilson 6~String Guitar, ARP Synthesizer, Banjo, Bass, Bells, Bongos, Celeste, Composer, Drums, Fuzz Bass, Gong, Guitar, Guitar (12 String), Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Bass), Guitar (Electric), Mixing, Moog Bass, Organ, Organ (Hammond), Percussion, Piano, Producer, Sample Arrangements, Shaker, Slide Guitar, String Arrangements, Synthesizer, Tubular Bells, Vibraphone, Vocals, Vocoder, Wurlitzer, Zither
• Jessica Wolfe Vocals
Jonathan Wilson: Rare Birds review — a rich, ambitious triumph.
Sun 4 Mar 2018 08.00 GMT / Score: ****
•♠• Few albums in recent years have been so adept at aping the sound of early 70s Laurel Canyon as Jonathan Wilson’s aptly titled Gentle Spirit. It suggested that the singer~songwriter liked nothing more than lying in a hammock, a cannabis cloud above him, staring at the stars. Not so. His third solo LP proves that he’s more complicated than his hippy persona intimates, its widescreen ambition revealing his kinship with Roger Waters, whose band he joined last year. Notably, there are drum machines and synthesisers, giving parts of Rare Birds an 80s art~rock feel, plus a newfound fondness for the space between the notes. Loving You underlines Wilson’s regard for the shape~shifting one~off Arthur Russell, while the drowsy, celestial 49 Hair Flips graphically dissects an old relationship.
•♠• It would be misleading, though, to pretend that Wilson has severed his ties with soft rock. At times, as on the anodyne Living With Myself, he is a little too soft for his own good. But Rare Birds is sprawling, rich and, by and large, a triumph, its cosmic mindset and focus on detail breathing drama into songs that in lesser hands might sound stale. •♠• https://www.theguardian.com/
By Janne Oinonen / 21 FEBRUARY 2018, 09:30 GMT / SCORE: 8
•♠• It’s been almost five years since Jonathan Wilson’s last album, Fanfare. The LA~based multi~instrumentalist and songwriter hasn’t been idle, however: apart from acting as musical director of former Pink Floyd chief Roger Waters’ stadium~straddling mega~tour, Wilson has produced a number of other artists’ releases, most notably Father John Misty’s Pure Comedy. (excerpt)
Ξ Jonathan Wilson had a busy 2017, producing Father John Misty’s grammy~nominated Pure Comedy and touring arenas around the globe as a guitarist and vocalist for Pink Floyd legend Roger Waters (for whom he also contributed to the lauded Is This The Life We Really Want? album.) Wilson also saw widespread acclaim heaped on Karen Elson’s sophomore LP Double Roses, which he recorded with her in Los Angeles in 2016.
•♠• But it’s not looking like Wilson is going to get much of a rest in 2018 either, as he’ll be continuing on with the worldwide Waters tour and is set to release his own new solo album Rare Birds in the spring. The highly anticipated long player — which features backing vocals from Lana Del Rey, Josh Tillman, fellow Roger Waters bandmates Lucius and an extraordinary musical gift from otherworldly Brian Eno collaborator Laraaji — will be released through Bella Union worldwide.
•♠• Although much of the album is comprised lyrically of meditations on a failed relationship and its aftermath, Wilson insists that Rare Birds is not really a concept album. “It’s meant more as a healing affair, a rejuvenation, a reconciliation, for others, and for me. I wanted to balance personal narrative with the need I feel for calming healing music. I think we need journeys in sound, psychedelic gossamer~winged music that includes elements consciously and purposefully to incite hope, positivity, longing, reckless abandon and regret. It’s all in there.”
•♠• And, for this one, music critics will need to retire the comparisons to heritage rockers and Laurel Canyon troubadours as they’re hardly useful anymore. Wilson’s new sound takes a synthetic/acoustic, best~of~both~worlds analogue/digital hybrid approach to achieve the complexity, sonic density and glossy hi~fi coating of Rare Birds. Heard for the first time on a Jonathan Wilson album are the sounds of synthesizers and drum machines.
•♠• “The Neil Young, CSN, Dennis Wilson and Tom Petty comparisons for the first two records were flattering, but I didn’t ever really see it that way myself.” The things that Wilson had been obsessing on, and he can clearly hear the influences of, are artists like Talk Talk, Arthur Russell, maybe a Sleigh Bells~meet~George Harrison kinda thing. “I hear mostly ME actually. On this album I’m quoting from earlier versions of myself, continuing a narrative I’ve had musically since I got my first 4~track when I was thirteen. I hear the influence of my vocal coach. I hear the influence of having worked in my studio with Roger Waters for months during the same time period that I was making this record. That gave me the feeling I could expand into certain psychedelic and found sound labyrinths.” There are voices, sirens, children playing, and more enhancing spatial sounds, while musical compadres Lana Del Rey and Josh Tillman (aka Father John Misty) appear as backing vocalists on “Living With Myself” and “49 Hairflips”, respectively.
•♠• Wilson describes Rare Birds as a “maximalist,” high density album more influenced by 80s British production than anything to do with Southern California in 1970s. It’s a dynamic new approach for Wilson that calls to mind one of Peter Gabriel’s early solo albums or even mid~period Kate Bush. “This album is a hell of a lot more Trevor Horn than anything, you know, Laurel Canyon~related,” he adds. The song that “started the whole record” was “Loving You”. Says Wilson, “I was floundering in my studio pacing the floors for months, scratching my head for a clue to how I would embark upon the process of making Rare Birds. I was waiting on a sign, a catalyst.” The catalyst came in the form of experimental ambient and new age musician Larajji. The pair had played together in the past, on the east coast, but it’s rare that Larajji is in Los Angeles and available to record. Wilson invited him to his Echo Park studio for a few sessions. “I had “Loving You” kicking around in a voice note on my phone for a while, something in it was my subtle ode to John Lennon... Larajii is one of the most musical humans I have ever come across, and every twist and turn he takes is documented here, it was not multiple passes, it was pure Larajji in the moment. I then went and sang a “scratch vocal”, which was always meant to be a scratch but I’ll admit it had spirit so I left it all the way down the line.” Wilson says simply of the song, “it’s very authentic in that the longing was very real.”
•♠• Of “Over The Midnight”, the first track released from Rare Birds, Wilson says, “I wanted to write a song about a sacred place for lovers to exist and I named that destination, process, mood or feeling ‘Over the Midnight’. It’s a place where nothing is savage.” In one of Wilson’s favourite lines on the album he sings “This world it is burning, but don’t it feel incredible? / Whisper in my ear and tell me what you see in the flames.”
•♠• “On some of the songs with string sections, multiple layers of synths, guitars, vocals — all the moving parts — the track count may reach 120~150 tracks”, he explains. “What I invariably end up doing is setting up a punishing process of giving myself a sonic puzzle where I then have to sort out the relationships of all these ideas, these tracks, these frequencies. This is how I make all of my albums, and even records I produce for others always seem to have that same lush and layered orchestral component. I subject myself to many months of meditation really, figuring out why I was compelled to add this or that, and editing, getting to the essence of what I hear the song as. More and more that’s maximalist, and big.” And while the recording process is often complex, one of the album’s most striking moments came together quickly. “What you hear with “There’s a Light” is the first time the song was ever played”, says Wilson. “I wrote it on my piano during the album tracking and we cut it the next day. This is the first take. It’s completely the first time I ever sang the song in my life, and the drum take that Joey Waronker put down blows my mind every time.”
•♠• Of Rare Birds as a whole Wilson says, “I want my music to hit people like an emotional tidal wave. With my songwriting it’s never about a clever couplet or smug turn of phrase, it’s about the intensity, the impact. Besides, we’re all fishing downstream from Townes Van Zandt anyway, so the only thing left to do is go BIG.” ****
•♠• Rare Birds was produced by Jonathan Wilson. Engineered by Dave Cerminara at Wilson’s own Fivestarstudios in Echo Park, Los Angeles on the Cadac G series mixing desk. Mastered by Adam Ayan at Gateway Mastering in Portland, Maine.
•♠• Backing vocals on “Trafalgar Square, “There Is A Light” and “Rare Birds” by Lucius. Backing vocals on “49 Hairflips” by Josh Tillman. Backing vocals on “Living With Myself” by Lana Del Rey. Backing vocals on “Loving You” By Laraaji.