James Vincent McMorrow

STG Presents

James Vincent McMorrow

Aidan Knight

Thu, March 20, 2014

8:00 pm

The Crocodile

Seattle, WA

$20 Adv.

Sold Out

This event is all ages

James Vincent McMorrow
James Vincent McMorrow
On a pecan farm half a mile from the Mexican border, ‘Post Tropical’ was born – a collection of sounds and ideas brought to life in rooms where the low frequencies of passing freight trains vibrated in the studio, briefly disturbing the birds in the rafters. And like most new ideas, ‘Post Tropical’ is hard to describe. It requires attention and engagement. It seduces you towards hidden depths.
McMorrow’s acclaimed debut album, ‘Early in the Morning’, reached number 1, went platinum and picked up a Choice Music Prize nomination upon its release in 2010. Along the way, there were shows everywhere from the Royal Festival Hall to Later…with Jools Holland, and a breakout hit in the charity cover of Steve Winwood’s ‘Higher Love’. McMorrow’s first record was the formative sounds of a songwriter who suddenly found people giving a damn. “I’m so proud of that album, but I never longed to be a guy with a guitar. You play these songs live as best you can, and suddenly you’re a Folk musician. But the texture of this record is completely different. This is the kind of stuff I actually listen to.”
Wiping the palate of ‘Early in the Morning’ clean, Post Tropical’ is a stunning piece of work. Its broadened horizons may come as a surprise to everyone but James and the people who know him best. “I found a zip drive recently, which dates back to before I made my first record, and I’d re-recorded every single part of the N.E.R.D album – apart from the vocals – just for the joy of it. I wanted to give this record the feel and movement of the hip-hop records that I love.”
It’s a step forward that is immediately apparent on album opener and first single ‘Cavalier’ – a brooding twist on the Slow-Jam, which builds quietly from hushed keys and hand-claps to soaring brass, drums and McMorrow’s idiosyncratic falsetto. Across the album, new sounds and textures are explored: 808s on the haunting ‘Red Dust’, looped piano on ‘Look Out’, and the waterfall-effect of 12 mandolins on ‘The Lakes’. McMorrow’s sometimes-surreal songwriting holds each element in place, an album on which he wrote, produced, and played virtually every instrument.
The framework of ‘Post Tropical’ was constructed over eight months. Coming home from tour, James had hundreds of sound files, none categorised. Pages and pages of lyrics were crossed out and edited. Nothing was written on guitar, and nothing was linear. Yet the recording itself took place on a pecan farm half a mile from the Mexican border – which the likes of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beach House, Animal Collective and At The Drive In have all called home at one point. The constraints of three and a half weeks here offered McMorrow a surprising amount of freedom. Sounds were created and changed and painstakingly poured over. The process was up for grabs, right up to the mixing stage.
What emerged was ‘Post Tropical’ – complete with the paradoxical, ‘wish-you-were-here postcard’ artwork (juxtaposing a palm tree with a polar bear). “It’s so exhausting trying to keep up with styles of music that pop up one week, and disappear the next,” says James. “For me, ‘Post Tropical’ evokes a style of music without you having a clue what it sounds like. It’s warm and familiar, but there’s something there that’s maybe not quite what you think it is. I just wanted to make the most beautiful thing that I could imagine. And that was it.”
Aidan Knight
Aidan Knight
Two years can go by in the blink of an eye, or can stretch into a prolonged series of cross-country tours,
weddings, funerals, rehearsals, odd jobs and getting your drivers license. Just ask Aidan Knight, the 25
year old songwriter and namesake of the Victoria-based band who unveil their second album Small
Reveal on October 23rd
The roots of Small Reveal began in early 2012, in a similar rustic surrounding to that of their critically
acclaimed debut album “Versicolour”: A cabin without running water on in rural British Columbia.
Armed with hundreds of pounds of recording equipment; Olivier Clements, Julia Wakal, David Barry,
Colin Nealis and Knight (via many wheelbarrows) set up in a gorgeous forest location with a cast iron
stove and nearby swimming hole. After a week tucked away from society, armed with 15 brand new
song ideas, they loaded the mountain of preamps and compressors back onto the ferry, returned home
to Victoria, and spent the next 5 months quietly reworking the music.
Finally, in May of 2012, the band, joined up with producer and engineer Jonathan Anderson who was at
the helm of Versicolour. Using the natural reverberant sounds of hanging guitars in a empty music store
and the echoing distance of hallways in family homes, Knight and his collaborators created the swirling
cinematics of Small Reveal in a whirlwind 10 days in 10 different recording spaces. The comraderie and
the contributions of the band were integral to the process, Aidan explains; “Everything from horn
arrangements to drum fills, they're things that I could never make up on my own. They're impossible;
Only happening because of those 5 people in that certain space. I think the most powerful ideas are the
ones that we never could have expected. As someone who's worked primarily on his own up until this
point, I'm so glad that my best friends are the ones I can share and learn from now”.
Small Reveal presents the themes of inward thought and creativity, escapism, longing for success, and
belonging. The result is an exciting yet dreamy, lushly-arranged record that swells and ebbs around the
captivating focal point of Aidan’s voice. “The first time I was able to listen to the songs roughly put
together…discovering what we had all made together. We had created something personal but
omniscient, something ragged but polished, something that was reflective of what it means to spend a
year crafting something that isn't revealed until the weeks. Unhurried. This is an album of music about
creating music, the escapism in it and the uncomfortably honesty that hopefully shows itself.
Venue Information:
The Crocodile
2200 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA, 98121