Posts Tagged ‘Light Information’

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Also a celebrated visual artist, VanGaalen is widely renowned for his illustration and animation work. As with his previous albums – Infiniheart, Skelliconnection and the Polaris short-listed Soft Airplane, VanGaalen illustrated all of the art for Diaper Island – and is in the midst of animating a music video as well. He has animated music videos for folks like J Mascis, Guster, and Holy Fuck, and his videos have been collectively viewed well over a million times on YouTube.

VanGaalen has been quietly building a catalogue of songs that invite listeners to gently explore his distinctive creativity. Diaper Island extends the adventure into deeper territory, tapping into VanGaalen’s lifeblood and mining the richness of his mind with sharper tools.

As always, VanGaalen wrote, played, and produced all of the music on Light Information (save Ryan Bourne’s bass part on “Mystery Elementals” and vocals on “Static Shape” from his young daughters Ezzy and Pip), and designed the cover art. The product of six years’ work, going back even before 2014’s Shrink Dust, Light Information emerged from the experimental instruments that fill VanGaalen’s Calgary garage studio. Among them is a beloved Korg 770 monosynth, which VanGaalen coveted for years before fixing one up and devoting a lot of recent energy to recording “duets” with it. One of these, “Prep Piano and 770,” is the lone instrumental on Light Information, more atmosphere and chord bursts than the rest of the album’s hooky rock narrative.

‘Light Information’ Release date: September 8, 2017 on Sub Pop Records.

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The song “Old Heads” is a sci-fi space anthem to technology that constantly replaces itself, proving both necessary and unnecessary at the same time. It’s also a jangly pop gem, a trip through the fantastical that is ultimately warm and relatable. This remarkable coexistence is one of many achievements of Chad VanGaalen’s Light Information, his sixth record on Sub Pop Records. 

For an album that’s about “not feeling comfortable with really anything,” as VanGaalen says, Light Information is nonetheless a vivid, welcoming journey through future worlds and relentless memories. The rich soundscapes and sometimes jarring imagery (“I’ll be the host body, yes, for the parasitic demons. They can eat me from the inside out, I already hear them chewing.”) could only come from the mind of a creative polymath–an accomplished visual artist, animator, director, and producer, VanGaalen has scored television shows, designed puppet characters for Adult Swim, directed videos for Shabazz Palaces, Strand of Oaks, METZ, Dan Deacon, and The Head and the Heart, and produced records for Women, Alvvays, and others.

While alienation has always been a theme of VanGaalen’s music, Light Information draws on a new kind of wisdom–and anxiety–gained as he watches his kids growing up. “Being a parent has given me a sort of alternate perspective, worrying about exposure to a new type of consciousness that’s happening through the internet,” he says. “I didn’t have that growing up, and I’m maybe trying to preserve a little bit of that selfishly for my kids.”

As always, VanGaalen wrote, played, and produced all of the music on Light Information (save Ryan Bourne’s bass part on “Mystery Elementals” and vocals on “Static Shape” from his young daughters Ezzy and Pip), and designed the cover art. The product of six years’ work, going back even before 2014’s Shrink Dust, Light Information emerged from the experimental instruments that fill VanGaalen’s Calgary garage studio. Among them is a beloved Korg 770 monosynth, which VanGaalen coveted for years before fixing one up and devoting a lot of recent energy to recording “duets” with it. One of these, “Prep Piano and 770,” is the lone instrumental on Light Information, more atmosphere and chord bursts than the rest of the album’s hooky rock narrative.

“If I was going to go out and buy a record, I would probably want it to sound only like that,” says VanGaalen. “That one’s for me.”

Throughout the dark-wave reverb of Light Information are stories of paranoia, disembodiment, and isolation–but there’s also playfulness, empathy, and intimacy. “I sit and do a drawing, a portrait of my dad,” sings VanGaalen on “Broken Bell.” “I should really visit him before he is dead. Cuz we are getting old. Our cells just won’t divide like they told us. But I’m not really good at this kind of thing.”

But VanGaalen is good at a lot of things–and he’s trying to pursue them for the right reasons. “I’m just trying to get over the weight of feeling like I have to be making something of my time constantly,” he says. “Especially with kids, you get these small breaks where you get to make stuff, and now I try to say ‘you know what, I’m going to make something for me.’”

And if he could make anything for himself, it would be without constraint. “I would love to build a living structure from scratch,” he says. “I’ve slowly been ripping my studio apart and building additions, but you’re always kind of down to this box. I’d love to explore more open forms of architecture, with an endless supply of materials to use, even garbage. Building codes keep us in these boxes–You can’t just build a giant hand made out of wood that’s the size of a house to live in. But we really should be able to do that.”

‘Light Information’

Chad VanGaalen’s Shrink Dust was a hidden gem in 2014, with galactic psych reverb spilling over jangly guitars and weird, spaced-out lyrics. Light Information keeps the formula intact: danceable indie rock with an experimental streak and nimble storytelling. Lead single “Old Heads” is a sci-fi anthem to technology that constantly replaces itself, proving both necessary and unnecessary at the same time. Chad VanGaalen is sincerely one of my favorite artists. I love the control he has over the production and representation of his music and all of the details he puts in to it. Out of a sea of artists I really connect with the lyrics. Have been a fan since I discovered Soft Airplane in 2006.

It’s also just really fun to listen to.

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A notorious homebody, Chad VanGaalen is well known for rarely leaving his rickety house in Calgary, endlessly drawing, recording and making art. With Diaper Island, VanGaalen distills his approach, producing his most sonically cohesive album to date, and the closest thing he has done to a rock album.

Also a celebrated visual artist, VanGaalen is widely renowned for his illustration and animation work. As with his previous albums – Infiniheart, Skelliconnection and the Polaris short-listed Soft Airplane, VanGaalen illustrated all of the art for Diaper Island – and is in the midst of animating a music video as well. He has animated music videos for folks like J Mascis, Guster, and Holy Fuck, and his videos have been collectively viewed well over a million times on YouTube.

VanGaalen has been quietly building a catalogue of songs that invite listeners to gently explore his distinctive creativity. Diaper Island extends the adventure into deeper territory, tapping into VanGaalen’s lifeblood and mining the richness of his mind with sharper tools.

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Last month we heard news that Chad Vangaalen was about to release his highly anticipated new album and a small tour of europe, Now the album is finally coming in September. We’ve since heard one single from the album called “Old Heads”, today Chad has another beauty for us to enjoy. This one is entitled “Pine and Clover” and features a somewhat creepy, yet still cool animated video of Chad’s always unique and distinct drawings. The song itself is of course full of subtle power and beauty typical of what we’ve come to expect over the years.