The new State of Mind album – “Miserabilism” – will be out for download on December 6, 2012.
Here’s a few facts about what’s in store:
There will be bass
Ever since the first album, State of Mind has been a solo project, with yours truly (or my semi-trusty laptop – see below) performing every instrumental part. But this time, bass player Morten Barnekov Johansen has been allowed access to the studio and adds his magic to four of the songs on the album. You will not be disappointed.
There will be (more) guitar
Lashings of feedback and distorted guitars appeared on the experimental soundscapes on “Why Can’t This Noise”. And this time the guitar has become an integral part of the otherwise electronic instrumentation.
I’m the first to admit that I’m not a virtuoso on guitar – so don’t expect complex solos. But generous lashings of guitar fuzz form the base for several of the songs – echoing my love of noise pop bands like Mogwai and our semi-local Raveonettes.
Ripping off Mussorgsky
I know we live in an age of single track downloads, shuffle and individual playlists. But I still like the idea of the album format – listening to a selection of tracks in a specific order, chosen by the artist.
For a while, I toyed with the idea of making the album as one long medley – a number of songs, joined together by instrumental sections. But in the end I decided for a compromise: In between the actual songs are short, improvisational instrumentals, called “Promenades” (as an hommage to Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky, who used the exact same idea in his “Pictures at an Exhibition”).
The first of these is based on the signals used on the Subways of Tokyo. Thanks to my friend Nikolaj Fisker for bringing these to my attention.
Crashed and crashed again
When the laptop is your studio, of course computer crashes is your greatest fear.
After a particularly harsh winter in my studio in the country, a burst water pipe destroyed the laptop I was making this album on.
I immediately bought a new laptop, managing to salvage all files from the old hard drive, allowing me to put out the single “The Familiar Feeling” earlier in 2012.
I resumed work on the album, but a few months later – for no apparent reason – the new laptop broke down. The verdict: A faulty hard drive.
Amazing, I once again managed to retrieve all my work – and worked fast to get “Miserabilism” finished for release.
(I doubt that it would have survived a third crash)
The song I wrote twice
I usually start songs by writing the melodies. Only later – and with much effort – do I add the final lyrics. So imagine my surprise when I uncovered a file on my hard drive with the entire, fully-formed lyrics for a song called “How Can Anyone”.
I probably had some kind of melody line in mind when I wrote it – but at the time of rediscovery, I had no recollection of what it might have been. So – I had to write a new melody – thus making “How Can Anyone” the first song I’ve written twice.
The monk by the sea
After wallowing in various kinds of misery throughout State of Mind’s career, I thought “Miserabilism” would be both precise and refreshingly ironic. (Actually, I believed to have ripped it off from a Pet Shop Boys song – but apparently, they weren’t even the first to coin the phrase)
When considering ideas for cover design, I remembered what is probably my favourite work of classic western art: “The monk by the sea” by the German romantic, Casper David Friedrich. Whenever I’m in Berlin (which is several times a year), I try to find the time to visit the Alte Nationalgalerie to gaze in awe at this brilliant painting. And it struck me as a fitting illustration of the album title.
Of course, the dimensions of the original painting doesn’t easily fit the square format of an album cover. But my brilliant designer Lucyna Lisek managed to come up with a solution – letting you enjoy the unique mood of this enigmatic work.
“Miserabilism” will be out for download and streaming December 6, 2012. Check the official State of Mind website for available options.