We’re glad to announce that New York, United States-based musician Vanderwolf has released his debut single, entitled “When The Fire Grows Cold”/”Extinction!”, featuring Robert Wyatt, Daevid Allen & Terry Edwards.
As well as being a musician with a long and storied history (most notably as vocalist with semi-legendary London band Last Man Standing, whose sole album in 2007 received plaudits from Mojo and Uncut among others), Max Vanderwolf has a hugely successful career as a music programmer and concert producer, working for some of the world’s most celebrated clubs and concert venues. These include New York’s legendary Knitting Factory and London’s internationally renowned Royal Festival Hall, where for nine years he produced the Meltdown Festival, working closely with David Bowie, Patti Smith, Jarvis Cocker, Massive Attack and Ornette Coleman. It was whilst working on Meltdown that Vanderwolf forged his friendship with Robert Wyatt.
Vanderwolf explains, “I had produced a tribute to Wyatt in NYC many years ago. Fred Frith, Peter Blegvad, Hugh Hopper and many others appeared. Robert gave it his official nod of support. When I moved to London to produce my first Meltdown Festival, Robert seemed the obvious choice to curate it, and from that, a lovely friendship evolved. Of course, it was daunting asking him to sing something I’d written. I know he gets a lot of proposals of which he turns down nearly all. But happily, he said yes. He said he thought he could sing this set of lyrics— and commented about the possibility of singing about his father. It was a huge relief to me.’’
“When The Fire Grows Cold”/”Extinction!” is Vanderwolf’s first ever solo release, ahead of his upcoming album to be released this summer. Lead track “When The Fire Grows Cold” is a piano-led cinematic nightmare-lullaby co-sung by the legendary musician-activist Robert Wyatt; while the second track, “Extinction!”, is a 5-minute Balkan-brass psychedelic fantasy featuring the late Soft Machine/Gong guitarist Daevid Allen and Terry Edwards (PJ Harvey, Lydia Lunch, Tindersticks) on saxophone. These two epic tracks capture the polarities of Vanderwolf’s vision: one song precise and quietly disturbing, one sprawling and transcendent.
Vanderwolf’s idea of these two tracks being paired is partially due to the thematic link of the lyrics: the folly of human progress that has brought us to the very brink of our own mass extinction. But it is also a linkage between Wyatt and Allen, who met as kids in Canterbury, England when Daevid Allen became a boarder in the Wyatt household at the age of 16. He had been shipped off by his family to England because he was too effeminate and too artistically-inclined for the rugged testosterone-driven culture of Australia in the early 1960s. Daevid showed up with Charlie Parker albums under his arm and, from their mutual love of bebop, a vital creative relationship was forged that eventually led to the pair forming Soft Machine along with Kevin Ayers and Mike Ratledge. That love of jazz is reflected in the music and the artwork (by Trend & Chaos) on ”Extinction!”
“When The Fire Grows Cold,” which also features co-producer Sam Sallon on piano, is lifted by what Wyatt referred to as a “peasant-chorus.” Videographer Alden Volney also depicted the “peasant-chorus” in the accompanying video for the song, which you can watch here:
“When The Fire Grows Cold” begins with ominous synth warbles and oscillations, which are soon joined by a lugubrious piano melody. Robert Wyatt’s captivating vocals then enter, as the song’s darkly poetic lyrics perfectly accompany the foreboding atmosphere created by the piano. Max Vanderwolf’s vocals then highlight a turning point midway through the track, a moment of reflection that leads quite well into a haunting, tremoloed electric guitar solo. The track culminates with Wyatt’s vocals returning for the concluding “peasant chorus,” as the song’s lyrics are accompanied by a choir in resolution.
The single’s B-side, “Extinction!,” is a dark ritualistic journey involving Balkan brass, African drumming, electronic analogue trance elements and the crunch of metal guitars, featuring an incredible glissando guitar solo from the late, legendary Daevid Allen and sax from the wonderful Terry Edwards. “Extinction!” creatively blends these disparate musical elements into a highly exciting and dynamic track.
“When The Fire Grows Cold”/”Extinction!” is quite an impressive debut single and an enjoyable listen throughout, showcasing Vanderwolf’s brilliant songwriting and superb musicianship, while also highlighting the phenomenal talents of his collaborators. I would highly recommend this single to fans of progressive rock.
Don’t forget to support this project and to follow on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify. You can also check out his official website. If you enjoy his music and are able to provide monetary support, you might consider downloading it on Bandcamp.
You can obviously find it in the following Playlists: Less Than 1,000 Followers, Fresh Singles, Indie Only, Alterindie State Of Mind, and Debut Bands (Off The Radar).
P.S. If you enjoy discovering new artists and fresh new music you can subscribe to this blog Less Than 1,000 Followers and follow the Playlist with all the artists that we have presented here!!!
This coverage was created via MusoSoup #Sustainablecurator
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