“ESOPUS 22: ORGANS” CD RELEASED TODAY
May 7, 2015
For its latest audio compilation, Esopus invited 10 musical acts—including Boister, Will Sheff, The Fiery Furnaces, and Cities Aviv—to create new songs inspired by the bodily organ of their choice. The CD will appear in Esopus 22: Medicine, the latest edition of the award-winning nonprofit arts publication that includes a themed musical compilation in every issue. The issue will be on newsstands in early May.
The theme of the CD relates directly to that of the issue itself, which is filled with contributions exploring the connections between medicine and the arts. Contents include six contemporary artists’ projects from figures such as Fred Tomaselli and Nina Katchadourian; archival material from the Museum of Modern Art, the Magnum Photos Archive, and Yale’s Beinecke Library; and 100 frames from Frederick Wiseman’s classic 1970 documentary Hospital.
The CD opens with “Famous Tracheotomies,” a beautiful track by Lovestreams, the solo project of Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff. In it, Sheff catalogs a series of musicians and writers (including himself) who have had emergency trachea surgery at one point or another in their lives. Brother-and-sister duo The Fiery Furnaces zeroed in on the eye for their epic, multifaceted “Invisible Blues,” and Baltimore-based outfit Horse Lords incorporated “third-ear” psychoacoustic effects for “Untitled (Ear),” structuring the driving instrumental around the Fibonacci sequence, a fractal pattern that approximately describes the shape of the outer ear. Michigan-based band Vulfpeck created “On Poince”—a cover of the old standard “Poinciana”—that sounds as if it might have been recorded from deep within its referenced organ, the larynx.
Pianist and composer Frank LoCrasto based his elegant instrumental on the “under-appreciated” pituitary gland: “It’s this tiny little organ doing so much work—regulating everything from the function of other organs to growth hormones and blood pressure,” LoCrasto explained. Rap artist Cities Aviv felt similarly inclined to shine a spotlight on his choice, the pineal gland: “Western science and medicine seem to have slept on its importance: It is said that those who interface with the pineal gland often have extrasensory perceptions,” he noted, and he evokes that process in his hypnotic track, “All Was Seen (Pineal Interface).” Another overlooked gland, the thymus, caught the attention of multi-instrumentalist Jon Natchez, who was intrigued to learn that it is the only organ that shrinks—or “involutes”—during one’s lifetime, a fact that inspired both the title and distinctive format of his instrumental, “Thymic Involution.”
Other contributors to the CD include Brooklyn band Flaws (bones); singer-songwriter Jean Rohe (the liver); and Baltimore-based band Boister (the spleen).
Earlier Esopus themed compilations have featured music inspired by Craigslist “Missed Connections” listings (#2), subscribers’ imaginary friends (#4), black-and-white films (#12), television shows (#15), and subscribers’ irrational fears (#17). Past contributors include Jens Lekman, Stephin Merritt, Neko Case and Carl Newman, Sam Amidon, Cloud Nothings, The Mountain Goats, Kimya Dawson, Frightened Rabbit, Doveman, Grizzly Bear, Busdriver, Atlas Sound, Lee Ranaldo, Low, Wye Oak, The Ruby Suns, Owen Pallett, Dirty Projectors, Andrew Bird, Autre Ne Veut, and more than 200 other artists working in all genres of music.
For more information about Esopus, visit www.esopus.org (where audio clips from all of our past CDs are available) or contact editor Tod Lippy at email@example.com or (212) 473-0919.