Monday, May 13, 2013

a thousand leaves

Sonic Youth explored mysticism with the subtle intricacies and ambient noise of this surreal seasonal adventure.  The band spent three years building their own studio in Manhattan and recording three experimental instrumental EP's (SYR1: AnagramaSYR2: Slaapkamers Met SlagroomSYR3: Invito Al Ĉielo) before recording their full length follow-up to 'Washing Machine'.   Sonic Youth co-produced 'A Thousand Leaves' with Wharton Tiers. The sessions at Echo Canyon featured Thurston Moore on guitar and vocals; Kim Gordon on bass guitar, guitar, and vocals; Lee Ranaldo on guitar and vocals; and Steve Shelley on drums.  

Ranaldo reveals:   "I guess it's a little different from the EP's because all the songs have vocals.  The vocals immediately make it less abstract, but these tracks are from the same sessions as the SYR stuff, so there is a connection."

Moore says the title is a reference to Walt Whitman’s ‘Leaves Of Grass’:    “That indivisible notion of art and nature is what I was getting at. It makes me happy when the slightest intentions can be picked up. Whitman is so amazing don’t you think? There’s a lot of his ‘New England Mysticism’ that we aspire to. The way his words seem to breathe, and have colour, and shape, and texture. As a member of Sonic Youth, and as a solo performer I’m also playing with the same type of evocation. The same way he improvises with images and words, we improvise with sounds and notes...What I’m aiming for all the time when we play live is a balance between the high energy of loud music, and a calm meditational energy you sometimes find at its core. Recording tends to restrict too much experimentation, ’cause when you’re making a record it’s a part of you, for that time it’s your whole fabric. But when we tour the songs, they tend to get more and more expansive, and actually evolve over time until they are something quite different. For this reason I never go back and listen to the recorded document. The thrill, instead of listening to our cds, comes when the balance I was talking about can be attained. Everyone in the room can have a shared, communal rock experience. I’m only too happy to be the conduit of it, after all rock’n'roll saved my soul.”

'A Thousand Leaves'  fluttered to eighty-five in the US, forty-three in Sweden, thirty-eight in the UK, thirty-seven in Norway, twenty-eight in Belgium, and thirty-two in France.


'A Thousand Leaves'  

full album:

1. Contre le sexisme 0:00:00

2. Sunday 0:03:55
3. Female Mechanic Now on Duty 0:08:46
4. Wildflower Soul 0:16:30
5. Hoarfrost 0:25:34
6. French Tickler 0:30:35
7. Hits of Sunshine (For Allen Ginsberg) 0:35:28
8. Karen Koltrane 0:46:33
9. The Ineffable Me 0:55:53
10. Snare, Girl 1:01:15
11. Heather Angel 1:07:53

live 1998

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