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ALEXIS TAYLOR

Alexis Taylor

Silence

    Best known as Hot Chip's clear-voiced frontman, Alexis Taylor also pursues a solo career as an introspective singer/songwriter, exploring distinct themes and ideas with each record. Alexis announces the release of his sixth and strongest solo album to date, Silence.

    Partly about silence - and how we intersect with it, observe it, try to record it, and how we feel about it when it’s gone, as we remember it - the record is also about religion, transcendence, giving oneself over to something bigger than you, or beyond this world. “I’m not religious myself,” adds Alexis, “but the songs which deal with the idea of gospel music or religion, look at it from a distance (rather like the shaky hand-held lens through which we follow the action in Pasolini’s ‘Gospel According To Matthew’) and try to uncover its influence on music and on people in desperate circumstances.”

    The genesis behind Silence started a few years ago with Alexis ruminating on silence as a subject and making plans to make a record of the sounds you hear in public spaces as people observe moments of silence. He then lost his own personal access to silence as tinnitus began in his right ear in 2019 at a Hot Chip show. As Alexis explains, “I started to think about what it meant to me to lose quietness, solitude, meditative head space - as that was no longer available to me.”

    Mostly composed in enforced isolation, Silence is a beautifully rich and unexpected conceptual album that is also Alexis’ most accomplished solo record and one that has seen early comparisons with a notably eclectic range of artists including Mark Hollis, George Michael, Big Star, Epic Soundtracks and Maher Shalal Hash Baz. This record sees the first time Alexis has collaborated with Sam Becker (double bass), Kenichi Iwasa (horn, trumpet) and Rachel Horton-Kitchlew (harp), who due to lockdown had to work in isolation from Alexis. In one case Kenichi recorded musical passages which were then superimposed on songs he had never heard - in effect keeping the songs themselves silent from the playing until the mixes were played to him. 


    TRACK LISTING

    1) Dying In Heaven
    2) Death Of Silence
    3) House Of The Truth
    4) Violence
    5) Strange Strings
    6) Thylacine
    7) I Look To Heaven
    8) Melting Away
    9) Consequences
    10) You’ve Changed Your Life
    11) Silence
    12) Wollongong Waves

    Alexis Taylor releases a new album on Domino. It is a very new, very individualist and – yes – very beautiful reflection of a life that's changed immeasurably since Alexis first started out in music. This is a musician, writer and singer who has carved his own unique path through the music of the 21st century, completely avoiding getting trapped along the way in dumb oppositions of pop vs avant-garde, dancefloor vs intellect, retro vs modernist and so on. He has worked with living legends from major pop stars to free improvisors in the furthest left field, played huge arenas and tiny clubs without ever privileging one over the other, and through all of it, never stopped listening and learning. All of this accumulated experience is put to work on Beautiful Thing in pursuit of something subtle and elusive but ultimately quite profound and beautifully human. Taylor’s fourth album also represents the first time Alexis has made a solo album with a producer, that producer being Tim Goldsworthy, co-founder of Mo Wax and DFA Recordings and member of UNKLE.

    The record is a bold and confident step forward for Alexis both sonically and in terms of his songwriting abilities. It has electronic thrills, dark spaces, memories of dancefloors, heartfelt writing; it's composed, it's improvised, it's accidental, it's strange, but it's also very immediate. It is a beautiful thing itself: a moving, modern and unique sounding long-player, to get lost in on repeated deep listens.

    Hot Chip front man Alexis Taylor pares everything back to just piano and voice for an intimate record of new songs, reinterpretations of his own writing, and a selection of favourites both well-known and unheard before by other artists. Recorded at Hackney Road Studios by Shuta Shinoda, Piano invites the listener to be privy to a very private recital, with Alexis’ vocal and piano captured live and up-close, preserving each beautiful moment.

    “The idea with this record was to choose songs of my own and others' that were personal to me and to document live performances which were intimate and unadorned. I wanted to reduce everything to the barest elements, record a great piano well and do as little as possible to the recordings eq or effects-wise. The mood created on the record is pretty different from that on other records I have been involved with. It feels like a special place to be able to go to."

    “After it was completed 'Piano' struck me as a sort of gospel record in places - albeit an atheist's gospel album, if that's possible. 'In The Light of the Room', Elvis's 'Crying In The Chapel', the hymnal 'I Never Lock That Door', and the miracle-referencing 'So Much Further To Go' - they have that feel to them for me lyrically and musically. But the Miracles in 'So Much Further' are Smokey's as much as anything Biblical, and the reference to both silence and music filling the air reflects the album’s observations about absence, loss, repair and surrender to love and sound. The song is one I was really happy with when I first wrote it partly because it offered some mystery to me - I didn't fully understand it. After a close friend and collaborator passed away during the making of this record - actually someone who I had asked to contribute small string parts to it - I felt I understood it all too well:

    'Life a miracle - a miracle that's hard to bear'”


    TRACK LISTING

    01. I’m Ready
    02. So Much Further To Go
    03. Crying In The Chapel
    04. Without Your Name
    05. In The Light Of The Room
    06. Lonely Vagabond
    07. Repair Man
    08. Don’t Make My Brown Eyes Blue
    09. I Never Lock That Door
    10. Just For A Little While
    11. Don’t Worry

    MMW1 and DFA are proud to present a special duo release from Dan Bodan and Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip). A call and response, the release features an original demo recording from 2009 by Bodan and a recent cover version by Taylor.

    Written and recorded in New Orleans during a summer of too much JT Leroy and True Blood, Dan Bodan’s original demo of ‘Under a Cancer Sky’ is a Ballardian ballad dedicated to the gods of Sex, Cars and Zodiac.

    Taylor’s take on the song is decidedly more sensual, abandoning the gothic highways of Route 66 for a night ride through Dubai or Neo-Tokyo, effortlessly zipping along between blinking skyscrapers in a self-driving car.


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