Man, talk about a dream team pairing. After some enticing rumors and teases of a potential collaboration between David Byrne and St. Vincent's Annie Clark, we now finally have some substantial details about their long-awaited full-length album. The record, Love This Giant, will drop on Sept. 11. on 4AD/Todo Mundo, and was originally envisioned by Clark and Byrne as a collaborative benefit at Housing Works (an event that still has not yet happened), for which they wanted to use a brass band "rather than the typical rock ensemble" in order to solve sound issues at such a small venue.
In a press release announcing the album, Byrne explained that the process of making the album was defined by this restriction:
The writing was truly collaborative: sometimes Annie would send me some synthesized versions of brass or guitar riffs and I would arrange them a bit and write a tune and words over them; other times this process would be reversed and I would send some musical ideas to Annie for her to write over. This material would get passed back and forth — each of us adding and elaborating on it.
I found that writing words to this brass-centric sound meant I had to re-think my lyrical approach. Brass has many associations — marching bands, Italian banda, New Orleans bands, classical chorales, RnB and funk. In general it's not a subtle sound, so the words had to respond to that. We worked with a group of great arrangers, usually passing them midi versions of the parts that we had created on computers. They did their arrangements and often sent us synthesized versions to hear before the real players came in. The process involved a number of steps, so it took a while. On some songs I re-wrote the words about three times before I hit a direction I felt worked!
Guests on Love This Giant include two of the best backing bands out there: Afrobeat ensemble Antibalas and the soul revivalists The Dap-Kings. And the fact that it's helmed by producer extrordinaire John Congleton hints even more that this project won't just be a straightforward teaming, but will be jam-packed with interesting arrangements, beats and sonic textures.
The first single, "Who," which you can download now from the album's website, is a surprisingly funky horn-driven groover with some excellent crooning from Byrne, and a few bursts of guitar distortion from Clark. When two distinctive musical personalities collide, it can often be hard to know what to expect from albums like this. This song is not at all what I assumed it might sound like, and it's a tantalizing preview of what's to come. I can't wait to hear more.
Love This Giant:
02 Weekend in the Dust
03 Dinner for Two
04 Ice Age
05 I Am an Ape
06 The Forest Awakes
07 I Should Watch TV
11 The One Who Broke Your Heart (ft. The Dap-Kings and Antibalas)
12 Outside of Space & Time
St. Vincent and David Byrne on tour:
09-15 Minneapolis, MN - State Theater
09-16 Milwaukee, WI - Riverside Theater
09-18 Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre
09-20 Toronto, Ontario - Queen Elizabeth Theatre
09-21 Montreal, Quebec - Eglise St-Jean Baptiste (POP Montreal)
09-23 Boston, MA - Orpheum Theatre
09-25 New York, NY - Beacon Theater
09-26 New York, NY - Beacon Theater
09-27 Philadelphia, PA - Tower Theater
09-29 Brooklyn, NY - Williamsburg Park
09-30 N. Bethesda MD - The Music Center at Strathmore
10-02 Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium
10-03 Atlanta, GA - Cobb Energy Center
10-05 Austin, TX - Bass Concert Hall
10-06 Houston, TX - Hobby Center
10-07 Dallas, TX - McFarlin Memorial Auditorium (SMU)
10-10 San Diego, CA - Humphrey's
10-11 Santa Barbara, CA - Arlington Theatre
10-12 Costa Mesa, CA - Segerstrom Theater for the Arts
10-13 Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theater
10-15 San Francisco, CA - Orpheum Theatre
10-17 Seattle, WA - 5th Avenue Theatre
10-18 Portland, OR - Arlene Schnitzer Auditorium
10-20 Vancouver, British Columbia - Centre in Vancouver for the Performing Arts