Jonathan Wilson Rare Birds 2LP
A Powerful Shockwave From The Sun On Double LP!
Pink Floyd Influences Heard Throughout!
Features Contributions From Father John Misty, Lucius, Lana Del Rey & Laraaji!
Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer Jonathan
Wilson (Father John Misty, Karen Elson, Conor Oberst), returns with his third
solo release on Bella Union. The ambitious "maximalist" album, titled Rare
Birds, features contributions from Father John Misty, Lucius, Lana Del Rey,
and New Age music legend Laraaji.
Jonathan Wilson had a busy 2017, producing Father John Misty’s grammy–nominated
Pure Comedy and touring arenas around the globe as a guitarist and vocalist for
Pink Floyd legend Roger Waters (for whom he also contributed to the lauded Is
This The Life We Really Want? album.) Wilson also saw widespread acclaim heaped
on Karen Elson’s sophomore LP Double Roses, which he recorded with her in Los
Angeles in 2016.
But it’s not looking like Wilson is going to get much of a rest in 2018 either,
as he continues on with the worldwide Waters tour and releases his own new solo
album Rare Birds. The highly anticipated long player features backing vocals
from Lana Del Rey, Josh Tillman, fellow Roger Waters bandmates Lucius and an
extraordinary musical gift from otherworldly Brian Eno collaborator Laraaji .
Although much of the album is comprised lyrically of meditations on a failed
relationship and its aftermath, Wilson insists that Rare Birds is not really a
concept album. "It’s meant more as a healing affair, a rejuvenation, a
reconciliation, for others, and for me. I wanted to balance personal narrative
with the need I feel for calming healing music. I think we need journeys in
sound, psychedelic gossamer-winged music that includes elements consciously and
purposefully to incite hope, positivity, longing, reckless abandon and regret.
It’s all in there."
And, for this one, music critics will need to retire the comparisons to heritage
rockers and Laurel Canyon troubadours as they’re hardly useful anymore. Wilson’s
new sound takes a synthetic/acoustic, best-of-both-worlds analogue/digital
hybrid approach to achieve the complexity, sonic density and glossy hi-fi
coating of Rare Birds. Heard for the first time on a Jonathan Wilson album are
the sounds of synthesizers and drum machines.
Wilson describes Rare Birds as a “maximalist,” high density album more
influenced by '80s British production than anything to do with Southern
California in 1970s. It’s a dynamic new approach for Wilson that calls to mind
one of Peter Gabriel’s early solo albums or even mid-period Kate Bush. "This
album is a hell of a lot more Trevor Horn than anything, you know, Laurel
Canyon-related," he adds. The song that "started the whole record" was "Loving
You". Says Wilson, “I was floundering in my studio pacing the floors for months,
scratching my head for a clue to how I would embark upon the process of making
Rare Birds. I was waiting on a sign, a catalyst."
The catalyst came in the form of experimental ambient and new age musician
Larajji. The pair had played together in the past, on the east coast, but it’s
rare that Larajji is in Los Angeles and available to record. Wilson invited him
to his Echo Park studio for a few sessions. "I had "Loving You" kicking around
in a voice note on my phone for a while, something in it was my subtle ode to
John Lennon… Larajii is one of the most musical humans I have ever come across,
and every twist and turn he takes is documented here, it was not multiple
passes, it was pure Larajji in the moment. I then went and sang a "scratch
vocal", which was always meant to be a scratch but I’ll admit it had spirit so I
left it all the way down the line." Wilson says simply of the song, "it’s very
authentic in that the longing was very real."
Of Rare Birds as a whole Wilson says, "I want my music to hit people like an
emotional tidal wave. With my songwriting it’s never about a clever couplet or
smug turn of phrase, it’s about the intensity, the impact. Besides, we’re all
fishing downstream from Townes Van Zandt anyway, so the only thing left to do is
"Jonathan’s talent – "mastery" may be more apt – places him among a rarefied
class of musical auteur. You’d be hard pressed to find a comparison, or
contemporary for that matter, that would do his recent work justice." – Josh
"To say Jonathan Wilson plays many instruments well would be an
understatement. He plays with a rare combination of extreme technical prowess
and elusive soul. Maybe it’s his southern roots honed through many years as a
session player and producer in LA or just some happy accident of nature but in
any event it is a fantastic thing to witness. As a songwriter he is always
exploring and pushing the limits while managing to remain a sturdy link to many
of the most sacred elements that made the psychedelic rock n roll of the 60’s
and 70’s so magical to begin with." – Conor Oberst
"Jonathan Wilson’s new record brings together as much a poet as a man adept
in the art of production. The result is yet another unplaceable album of
sparkling timelessness." – Laura Marling
Rare Birds was produced by Jonathan Wilson. Engineered by Dave Cerminara at
Wilson’s own Fivestarstudios in Echo Park, Los Angeles on the Cadac G series
mixing desk. Mastered by Adam Ayan at Gateway Mastering in Portland, Maine.
• Double LP
• Gatefold jacket with gold embossing on front and back
• Lyric book
Josh Tillman (7)
Lana Del Ray (10)
1. Trafalgar Square
3. Over The Midnight
4. There's A Light
5. Sunset Blvd.
6. Rare Birds
7. 49 Hair Flips
8. Miriam Montague
9. Loving You
10. Living With Myself
11. Hard To Get Over
12. Hi Ho The Righteous
13. Mulholland Queen