David Byrne & St. Vincent have confirmed the September 11 release of their album, ‘Love This Giant,’ to be released worldwide by 4AD under exclusive license from Byrne’s label Todo Mundo. Recorded over two years largely at Water Music in Hoboken, NJ, the album is a collaboration in the truest sense of the word, with Byrne and St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark) co-writing ten of the album’s twelve tracks, and each artist penning one song individually. The album centers around an explosive brass band and is propelled by John Congleton’s drum programming. Their subsequent tour will bring them to The Chicago Theatre for an XRT 4D Concert on 9/18.
Byrne writes, “We immediately restricted ourselves given all the possible directions we could have taken—and suggested we write some tunes based on this brass concept, just a few to see if we could actually work together and to see if we both liked the results. That was a few years ago. The writing was truly collaborative: sometimes Annie would send me some synthesized versions of brass or guitar riffs and I would arrange them a bit and write a tune and words over them; other times this process would be reversed and I would send some musical ideas to Annie for her to write over. This material would get passed back and forth—each of us adding and elaborating on it. There are songs on which one of us sang on the demo and the other ended up singing the finished version. Eventually we had a handful of songs and mutually decided that the concept was working and we would continue.”
David Byrne & St. Vincent, “Who” [DOWNLOAD]
Love This Giant Track Listing:
“Weekend in the Dust”
“Dinner for Two”
“I Am An Ape”
“The Forest Awakes”
“I Should Watch TV”
“The One Who Broke Your Heart” (featuring the Dap-Kings and Antibalas)
“Outside of Space and Time
Byrne and Clark will launch a 24-date fall tour on September 15 in Minneapolis, including a stop at The Chicago Theater for an XRT 4D Concert. “We’ll be doing these songs and a bunch of songs that we suspect people will know, with a group that includes eight brass players, a keyboardist and a drummer,” says Byrne of the tour.
David Byrne on ‘Love This Giant’
I found that writing words to this brass-centric sound meant I had to re-think my lyrical approach. Brass has many associations—marching bands, Italian banda, New Orleans bands, classical chorales, RnB and funk. In general it’s not a subtle sound, so the words had to respond to that. We worked with a group of great arrangers, usually passing them midi versions of the parts that we had created on computers. They did their arrangements and often sent us synthesized versions to hear before the real players came in. The process involved a number of steps, so it took a while. On some songs I re-wrote the words about three times before I hit a direction I felt worked!
We both had other records and tours in the works, so this project was done in fits and starts, and each series of recording sessions involved a lot of players. It was an education that involved figuring out the variety of sounds and approaches one could come up with using more or less the same group makeup on every song—we could go funky or majestic with the exact same band. When John Congleton added some beats we could see a surprisingly song-centric record emerging. A lot of people, hearing a description of this project, assumed that it might be an artsy indulgence, but somehow it didn’t turn out that way. It’s a pop record—well, in my book anyway. I started to sense that we were ending up with a sound and approach I’d never heard before. There were elements that were reminiscent of things I’d heard, but a lot of it was completely new. Very exciting!
By the beginning of 2012, we could see the end in sight and became more serious about wrapping it up and planning a series of performances. We did a photo session with photographer Richard Burbridge and Gabe Bartalos for the cover art and invited artist Steve Powers to create some typographical work to go over that.