Posts Tagged ‘Carnage’

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis released a new album titled “Carnage”. It was somewhat of a surprise release, although Cave had previously hinted at the album on his website. While the album works well as a complete piece, we picked album highlight “White Elephant” for this list. It features Cave tackle somewhat current events with such striking lyrics as “A protester kneels on the neck of a statue/The statue says, ‘I can’t breathe/The protester says, ‘Now you know how it feels’/And he kicks it into the sea.” Cave is backed by an incredibly deep bassline and ominous strings, before a choir erupts midway through the song, singing, “A time is coming/A time is nigh/For the kingdom/In the sky”—and suddenly it’s a Spiritualized song.

Carnage is available now digitally via Goliath, and will be available on CD and vinyl on May 28th. 

Cave describes the album in a press release as “a brutal but very beautiful record nested in a communal catastrophe.” Ellis adds: “Making Carnage was an accelerated process of intense creativity. The eight songs were there in one form or another within the first two and a half days.” For such a literate person, Nick Cave does his new album with Warren Ellis a bit of a disservice by choosing to describe it as “a brutal but very beautiful record nested in a communal catastrophe.” That is, of course, an accurate description of what this music is, but it doesn’t really encompass everything Carnage can blossom into once it reaches the listener’s ear. Part of what’s made Cave and Ellis’ voluminous body of work so beguiling is the way that primary-colour descriptors like “brutal” and “beautiful” lose their meaning in the endless shades the two musicians have at their disposal. And to prime the audience to expect something that slots neatly into Cave’s setup is to constrain an extraordinarily complex work of art. 

In November of last year, Cave put out a solo live concert album, Idiot Prayer – Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace, on Bad Seed Ltd.

“Carnage” is a new album by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, recorded over a period of weeks during lockdown. Although the pair have composed & recorded many soundtracks together, and Ellis is a long-term member of The Bad Seeds, this is the first time they have released an entire album of songs as a duo. After cancelling his already rescheduled 2021 UK and European tour due to the spread of coronavirus, Cave described this period as an “opportunity to take stock” and “time to make a new record”. Cave describes the album as “a brutal but very beautiful record nested in a communal catastrophe. Making “Carnage” was an accelerated process of intense creativity,” says Ellis, “the eight songs were there in one form or another within the first two and a half days.”

Cave said that his inspiration came from “reading, compulsively writing and just sitting on my balcony thinking about things”. With no initial intention of making an album, he said “the record just fell out of the sky. It was a gift.”

Cave & Ellis’ sonic and lyrical adventurism continues apace on Carnage, an album that emerged almost by accident out of the downtime created by the long, anxious, global emergency. Carnage is a record for these uncertain times – one shot through with moments of distilled beauty and that resonates with an almost defiant sense of hope. Cave and Ellis’ creative chemistry is rooted in their long history of music making, both as collaborators and as individual artists. They first crossed paths in 1993, when Ellis played violin on several songs for the Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album, Let Love In, before going on to join the band as a full time member. The two have also recorded as Grinderman, formed in 2006, and have composed and recorded numerous, film, TV and theatre soundtracks together.

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis. Credit: Joel Ryan

Warren Ellis: “Two people sitting in a room taking risks and letting whatever happens, happen. The eight songs were there in one form or another within the first two and a half days and then it was, ‘let’s just make a record!’ There was nothing too premeditated about it.”

Nick Cave: “The inspiration came from reading, compulsively writing and just sitting on my balcony thinking about things”. The record just fell out of the sky. It was a gift.”

NME says: “‘Carnage’ is arguably Cave and Ellis’ best record since The Bad Seeds’ latter day reinvention on 2013’s ‘Push The Sky Away’, or maybe even ‘Abattoir Blues’. It’s certainly two master craftsmen at the peak of their melodramatic powers.” first Impression: A mix of the romantic crooner and the haunting crooner. Growing with every spin. Compelling orchestrations, classical arrangements, with Ellis showing his musical skills once more. Can’t remember when Cave made an average album. Did he, actually? Okay, Carnage once again on my headphones.

Cave told fans via The Red Hand Files that these songs were born from missing the sensation of “the complete surrender to the moment” that comes from being on stage. They’ve certainly captured that abandon, along with all the heightened rushes of panic and mania that come with lockdown and recent world events, and those merciful moments of peace, serenity and hope for what’s to come. Cave and Ellis have taken a bold leap into the COVID era’s dark night of the soul, and found a truth that we all share.”