'An Arabesque' cover art

Cloudland Canyon
“Try Faking It”

January 21, 2016   Premiere
'An Arabesque' cover art

Motorik beats aside, last year’s U/V Light LP—a solo album essentially—was the first hint that Kip Uhlhorn has pop tendencies lurking beyond the Krautrock curtain of his longtime project Cloudland Canyon. Now back at its helm for next month’s An Arabesque record, Uhlhorn has paired with Panda Bear producer Sonic Boom (see also: Spectrum, Spacemen 3) on such “naive disco” songs as today’s #selftitledpremiere. Available below alongside the album’s previously leaked title track, “Try Faking It” sends a couple guest singers (Erica Azzurri and Lesa Aldridge) spiraling through a cracked space-time continuum of crystalline keys and bubble gun beats.

Here’s what Uhlhorn had to say about it:

Ok, so this is one of the first songs where I tried out this new approach to songwriting that was mostly generative or by chance. I had been downloading different audio clips (birds chirping, bells ringing, a dude playing a Bee Gees cover in a grain silo) off of YouTube, bringing them into Ableton and converting them into MIDI data. I would then send the MIDI info back out to a synthesizer and record it back into Ableton.

Soooo…. I guess my hope was to get arbitrary or serendipitous results and then go back and mess around with it more. I used Ableton’s beat repeater a lot for drum parts made from YouTube MIDI data. Anyway, this was the first time where I tried this method and it seemed to really click. It’s almost like pulling music out of thin air. I really enjoy removing myself from the songwriting as much as possible, or I guess trying to work as intuitively or maybe even in a manner not too dissimilar to free association or automatic writing. Also, I think some of the lyrics were lifted straight from [Brian Eno’s] Oblique Strategies, which I guess thematically makes it pretty sound.

Pete (Sonic Boom) and I got super into downloading and manipulating YouTube clips. We would DL old Bell Labs vocoder demos or speech pathology-type sounds. The last song on this record is largely made from old vocoder YouTube clips. Oh and SB has a Synthi as well, so there’s that.