Nico Muhly and Teitur's "Confessions" Out on Vinyl on Nonesuch Records
Confessions, a collaboration between the acclaimed American composer Nico Muhly and the Faroese singer/songwriter Teitur, is now available on vinyl on Nonesuch in the US and Canada, following its recent digital and CD release; the vinyl is due worldwide on December 2. The lyrics, inspired by or culled from video and commentary the pair found on YouTube, are simple, matter-of-fact, fragmentary, funny, and strange, yet they attain a dignity paired with the gorgeous and expressive music.
Confessions, a collaboration between the acclaimed American composer Nico Muhly and the Faroese singer/songwriter Teitur, is now available on vinyl on Nonesuch in the United States and Canada, following its recent digital and CD release; the vinyl is due worldwide on December 2. To pick up a copy of Confessions on vinyl, head to your local music shop, Amazon, or the Nonesuch Store, where CD and vinyl orders include a download of the complete album at checkout. You can also download the album on iTunes and hear it on Spotify and Apple Music.
The two musicians began work on the project when Muhly was composer-in-residence at Muziekgebouw Eindhoven in the Netherlands. The songs' lyrics were inspired by or culled from video and commentary the pair found on YouTube. Confessions was recorded with Holland Baroque.
"With Muhly drawing on music from the baroque period and Lassen taking lyrical inspiration from confessional YouTube videos," says Q magazine, "it’s at once quirky yet cultured, Muhly’s refined classical arrangements adding poignancy to songs about felines in peril, small towns and sushi rolls. Engagingly eccentric."
Hailing from the Faroe Islands, halfway between Norway and Iceland in the North Atlantic, Teitur Lassen (who uses only his first name professionally) has long been a successful pop artist in Europe, winning several Danish music awards, touring internationally, and collaborating with such artists as Seal, Corinne Bailey Rae, and French star Emilie Simon and Nolwenn Leroy. "We came up with this premise of boring videos, home videos," he explains. "It was a time when everyone was posting these meaningless videos. It was just fascinating when we started watching them … The more you watched them the more you started to wonder, 'What is behind this? Why are people doing this?' They are really saying, 'This is really beautiful, this is really sick, this is me,' people confessing things. And that gave us the title for the record."
"Teitur took a lot of these things," continues Muhly, "and looked at the comments and imagined the world that these people inhabited. We also solicited some anonymous Dutch videos, people telling us things that are unexpected, including this woman who said 'I love the smell of my printer in the morning.' It made me so happy. That smell is so specific. These are not confessions in a dirty way but more like if you went over to a friend's house 10 minutes before they expected you and you got a glimpse into something private. As a songwriter, Teitur focuses on a little detail or a little gesture, and then one can divine bigger content."
Holland Baroque's mission is "to convince a large and varied audience of the flexibility and vitality of (Baroque) music." As Muhly notes, "They perform standing up, and they are as old school as you'd like, but they chewed into this material really gleefully. It was a kind of magic project actually."
When he began his tenure at Eindhoven, Muhly says, "I knew I wanted to work with this Baroque ensemble. The distance between contemporary listening and Baroque music is one of the most heartbreaking and interesting things. Most of the music I like is from the 17th century or before. It's a tradition that never stopped—a small tradition, a specific one. There is something incredibly direct about Baroque music and Baroque instruments." He continues, "But it also posed a different challenge. Baroque musicians aren't accustomed to the sorts of rhythms attendant to contemporary music, and that brought another interesting tension to the project."
The original four songs from Eindhoven worked so well that Teitur and Muhly continued writing. By 2009, they had a concert-length piece comprising the 14 songs on Confessions. Muhly, Teitur, and Holland Baroque toured the Netherlands, performing the piece with the videos that inspired it projected behind the players; they recorded the songs at the end of the tour.
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Conor Oberst's album Salutations, a companion piece to 2016's lauded Ruminations, is due March 17. Salutations comprises full-band versions of the ten songs from that solo album plus seven additional songs. It was recorded at the famed Shangri-la Studios in Malibu and Five Star Studios in Echo Park with The Felice Brothers and the legendary drummer Jim Keltner, who co-produced the album. Guest performers include Jim James, Blake Mills, Maria Taylor, M Ward, Gillian Welch, and Jonathan Wilson. Nonesuch Store pre-orders include instant downloads of "A Little Uncanny," "Tachycardia," and "Napalm."
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