JOSE GONZALEZ (SWE)
Thursday 26.7.2018 Helsinki, Allas Sea Pool
Thursday 26.7.2018 Helsinki, Allas Sea Pool
José González - Vestiges & Claws
Imperial Recordings is excited to announce the release of José González's new
record, Vestiges & Claws. The album, his first in seven years, is out on
February 17 and was produced by González in his home as well as Svenska
Grammofonstudion, both in Gothenburg, Sweden. It consists of years͛ worth of
musical sketches that in other hands might naturally sprawl wildly in sound and
style, but on Vestiges & Claws González has created a collection of songs
that cohere just about perfectly, ensuring his position as one of the most
important artists of his generation.
It was no doubt a conscious decision to work without a producer, said
González. I didn͛t want this to be too polished, or too in your face.͛ Most
of all, it͛s fun to be in complete control of the artistic aspect. Also, I was
inspired by and picked up a lot of tricks from the producers I have worked with
in the past. I like to use distortion and let things be a little overdriven,
which gives things a warmer sound. Sometimes people complain that my music is
too muddled, but I really do not want a modern crisp sound. I͛d much rather aim
somewhere between Shuggie Otis and Simon & Garfunkel.
The result is an album that is less purist, less strict. One can find traces of
inspired protest songs and eccentric folk rock on Vestiges & Claws:
staccato grooves and rhythms, frustration and optimism. It͛s a collection that
is simultaneously confident, free and uncertain.
González said, I started out thinking that I wanted to continue in the same
minimalistic style as on my two previous records, but once I started the actual
recordings I soon realized that most of the songs turned out better with added
guitars and a more beat-like percussion, and with more backing vocals.
González has been far from idle in the seven years since the release of his
last solo record, In Our Nature. Besides making two Junip albums and touring
the world both solo and with the band, González has been active in the studio
in various contexts. One project in 2013 was José͛s input to the The Secret
Life Of Walter Mitty soundtrack, directed by and starring Ben Stiller. Besides
previously released José and Junip songs, the film also contains exclusively
written material as well as an interpretation of John Lennon͛s #9 Dream. Earlier this autumn, the AIDS awareness group, Red Hot Organization, released
the compilation Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell, where González and guests
play a very groovy, sax-laden version of Russell͛s ͞
This Is How We Walk On The
Moon. During this time, his song Far Awayy won the Best Song in A Game͟ at
the Spike Video Awards and Rolling Stone named Junip͛s In Every Direction a
Top 50 single of 2010.
Vestiges & Claws is, however, the first album where he has chosen to
include exclusively original material, largely revolving around ideas of
civilization, humanism and solidarity.
“I think that might be where there is some sort of common thread on this new
record: The zoomed out eye on humanity on a small pale blue dot in a cold,
sparse and unfriendly space. The amazing fact that we are here at all, an aim
to encourage us to understand ourselves and to make the best of the one life we
know we have after birth and before death. And also, I͛ve been okay with using
rhymes this time, González said with a smile. He added, In general I think
that the lyrics are clearer this time. And a little less self-pitying."
Where Veneer and In Our Nature, might have sounded sparse and barren in parts,
Vestiges & Clawshas an altogether new feeling to it, at once warmer and
darker than before. He talks about how he͛s found inspiration in sprawling 70′s
Brazilian productions, American folk rock and West African desert blues this
time. And how he͛s decided to waive the principle of having everything on the
album reproducible in a live context.
González summed it up, I've focused more on the role of being a producer this
time around. I͛ve spent more time thinking of what͛s best for the song and the
A deep, artful thinker whose singular approach to song writing and sonics sets
him worlds apart, José González is in a class by himself. He has a voice. He
has a sound. He has a point of view.Vestiges & Claws – musically gorgeous,
strikingly profound in lyric — has a unique and quietly visceral power that is
as an outstanding addition to what is now an impressive body of work. The album
is, without question, the most highly anticipated of his career.