Posts Tagged ‘Big Red Machine’

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“No Time For Love Like Now” is the first song from Big Red Machine since the release of their critically acclaimed self-titled debut in 2018. Big Red Machine began as a collaboration between Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon in 2008, and has grown into a multi-artist collective. When the group got together this year to begin working on new music, this particular song made a detour and ended up with Michael Stipe.

We’re so pleased to share this powerful new song from Michael Stipe & Big Red Machine, out now on 37d03d. The collaboration came about when Aaron Dessner shared a folder of new Big Red Machine music with Michael last year. No Time For Love Like Now was written last fall but when the reality of the COVID pandemic and social distancing and self-isolation descended the words felt like they were written about this time. The song features orchestration by Bryce Dessner,  Justin Vernon, Brad Cook, JT Bates, Thomas Barlett, Clarice Jensen and Yuki Numata Resnick also perform on the track. 

Michael Stipe & Big Red Machine have also designed a “No Time For Love Like Now” t-shirt and tote. All proceeds from the sales will go to the Equal Justice Initiative and COVID-19 Protest Relief Fund.

Written by Michael Stipe and Aaron Dessner, produced by Aaron Dessner, with Orchestration by Bryce Dessner, and lyrics by Michael Stipe

Out now on 37d03d

Big Red MAchine

Big Red Machine was a decade in the making, starting with the sketch of a song The National’s Aaron Dessner sent Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon for the Dark Was the Night charity compilation and culminating with recording sessions with a host of friends. Anchored by Dessner and Vernon, their guests include vocalists like Lisa Hannigan, Phoebe Bridgers, This Is the Kit’s Kate Stables and Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, and string arrangements from Rob Moose and Dessner’s twin brother Bryce. In all, it includes more than two dozen contributors from the minimalistic PEOPLE music platform created by Vernon and the Dessners to encourage collaboration and sharing. Side projects like this often seem tossed off, but Big Red Machine feels like the opposite—something remarkably ambitious, a labor of love that sees two of indie rock’s most talented and creative minds pursuing a passion without pressure, or limits.

The resulting music can sound at times like a National album with Vernon’s echoing, manipulated falsetto serving as a stark contrast to the warm, intimate baritone of Matt Berninger, and at other times like a Bon Iver album with more complex and inventive chordal patterns and rhythmic structures. It’s experimental but affecting with Vernon’s snippets of heart-on-sleeve vulnerability popping up screaming from a cloud of otherwise opaque lyrics. You can hear the influence of Vernon’s work in the hip-hop world in both the underlying beats and his vocals on tracks like “Gratitude” and “Lyla.” Polyrhythms and the odd time signatures Dessner loves to employ with The National abound, and combined with Vernon’s recent sonic exploration on 22 a Million and sometimes incomprehensible word salads, immediate accessibility isn’t really the goal here. But those complexities and sonic risks are also where the music is most rewarding. Neither The National nor Bon Iver does “happy music,” and the themes running through Big Red Machine are rarely uplifting, but there’s unmistakable joy in the music here, a deep care and love for what they were creating and how they got to create it—among friends who also happen to be overflowing with talent. Fans of either band are likely to share in that joy.

Big Red Machine is a project born out of love for downsized collaboration from two architects of stadium-sized indie-rock bands. Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Aaron Dessner (the National) have on this project for years and 2018’s self-titled release is their most expansive recorded output. This is an ethereal listen, straight up; a record to get lost in. You’ll gravitate to new territory upon every subsequent spin, and you’ll certainly hear connections to their day jobs. Vernon is front and center with his penchant for complicated, programmed textures, and Dessner paints around his partner’s vocals with flowery, delicate soundscapes.

Big Red Machine (Photo by Graham Tolbert)

Big Red Machine was a decade in the making, starting with the sketch of a song The National’s Aaron Dessner sent Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon for the Dark Was the Night charity compilation. The duo enlisted more than two dozen collaborators, including vocalists like Lisa Hannigan, Phoebe Bridgers, This Is the Kit’s Kate Stables and Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, and string arrangements from Rob Moose and Dessner’s twin brother Bryce. Side projects like this often seem tossed off, but Big Red Machine feels like the opposite—something remarkably ambitious, a labor of love that sees two of indie rock’s most talented and creative minds pursuing a passion without pressure, or limits.

The resulting music can sound at times like a National album with Vernon’s echoing, manipulated falsetto serving as a stark contrast to the warm, intimate baritone of Matt Berninger, and at other times like a Bon Iver album with more complex and inventive chordal patterns and rhythmic structures. It’s experimental but affecting with Vernon’s snippets of heart-on-sleeve vulnerability popping up screaming from a cloud of otherwise opaque lyrics.

Alongside the album, they’ve unveiled new videos for three tracks from the record: “Gratitude,” “Forest Green,” and “I Won’t Run From It.” The visuals were directed by Eric Timothy Carlson and Aaron Anderson, and they feature colorful layers of graphics, text, and images.

Aaron Dessner & Justin Vernon are Big Red Machine. A project evolving through the PEOPLE collective.

Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner Detail New Album as Big Red Machine.

Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and the National’s Aaron Dessner have detailed their debut album as Big Red Machine. The self-titled LP is set to come out August 31st via their PEOPLE digital platform, as well as on vinyl, CD, and cassette in partnership with JagjaguwarBig Red Machine includes the four songs that Vernon and Dessner released last month (“Forest Green,” “Lyla,” “Gratitude,” and “Hymnostic”).

Vernon and Dessner developed Big Red Machine over the last two years. They produced the album together with frequent collaborator Brad Cook. Big Red Machine was recorded and mixed by Jonathan Low, mostly at Dessner’s Long Pond studio in upstate New York (where the National also recorded much of Sleep Well Beast).

In a press release, Dessner stated, “I don’t think the record would exist without the community that came together to make it.” He continued, “We took the music to a certain point, and then we reached out and sent it far and wide, inviting friends to contribute any and all ideas. We’ve viewed the record and the process from a community standpoint. We’re incredibly excited about it, as excited as we would be for any album we might make in another situation that’s more conventional. But this feels like something new the process felt different and the outcome felt different.”

Releases August 31st, 2018