Blonde Redhead - 3 O'CLOCK
Asa Wa Kuru / Ponderosa Music & Art - March 2017
Not many bands can handle very long careers and never stop evolving and actually, keep on exploring, from record to record. Blonde Redhead deserves a place in this category. In nearly 25 years, the acclaimed New York based trio went from the noise rock of the early years to the refined dream pop of "Misery Is A Butterfly", before reaching the sensual electronic textures of the studio album, "Barragán" which was released in 2014. Now it's time to make a step forward once again, or perhaps I should say a step to the side, because, despite the variety of styles, the band has always been able to keep a personality and a unique identity easily recognizable. Fresh from the box set "Masculin Féminin" (September 2016) and the remix "Freedom of Expression on Barragan Hard" (March 2016) releases, Japanese Kazu Makino and twin Italian-Americans Amedeo and Simone Pace return with a new 'EP "3 O'Clock", released March 3rd, 2017 on Asa Wa Kuru Records under license to Italian label Ponderosa Music & Art. Four songs, two of them sung by charming Kazu while the other two by guitarist and second voice of the band, Amedeo, which still mark once again the willingness to broaden their musical horizons.
It is no by chance that this melancholic Ep with a romantic graft comes out a few months after the tour that in 2016 saw the Blonde Redhead resubmit their cult album "Misery Is A Butterfly" with a string quartet: the 2004 record’s atmospheres emerge occasionally in these new pieces as they push even more in the direction of a massive presence of strings and wind instruments such as the viola, cello, violin, clarinet, oboe, flute and trumpet. The Ep was, in fact, made with the help, among others, of American ensemble ACME, and Eyvind Kang, American composer and violinist who has already collaborated with Blonde Redhead in the past on "Misery Is A Butterfly" and in the latest tour.
The first two tracks, "3 O'Clock" and "Golden Light", are sung and written by Kazu Makino who speaking of the title track for the Ep launch, explains: "At three in the afternoon, a lot of things happen, how many times we schedule appointments at that time? In Japan, then, it is a holy hour, it’s 'tea time’. Obviously you might even think about the three in the morning, but I wrote the song starting from this suggestion, thinking about what is a significant time to me on a daily basis, a kind of turning point, metaphorically the beginning of a new chapter for Blonde Redhead ".
Amedeo who authored the other two tracks, says, “‘Give Give’ is a piece that I have kept in the drawer, since the "Penny Sparkle" era, back in 2010. We added a line of flutes and strings plus percussions composed along with Mauro Refosco (who is a Brazilian percussionist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Atoms for Peace) to give more life to the song, which I cared about as it's a song that I feel very close now, than at the time I wrote it.” He added, ” "Where Your Mind Wants To Go" we first recorded guitar, drums and percussion, and then develop arrangements with horns and trumpets in the studio with Michael Leonhart. "
The orchestral touch is something that has always fascinated Blonde Redhead. "Speaking of this EP, I believe that the winds and arches addition in the songs can give the music a plus, it is what happens in the soundtracks, of which I am a big fan," says Amedeo. “Furthermore, surely the last tour with a string session on stage has inspired the arrangement. During those dates we have played two of these new songs, "3 O'Clock" and "Golden Light", and performing them live, we were feeling of adding small arrangements: that's where it all started with the extra instruments. From there, and from a home away from the bustle of the big city: some months ago we spent a week in a country house in upstate New York," says Amedeo. "We holed up, and we wrote every day for hours, laying the foundations for this Ep, but knocking out many other ideas that seem good to work soon on."
Blonde Redhead are, therefore, ready to present their new work - along with the best of their rich repertoire – on an upcoming european tour: from 22 February to 19 March, the trio will be in Europe for twenty gigs making it to cities such as Madrid, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin. And that is not it: in the coming months the band is planning to bring "Misery is a Butterfly" on tour again, this time with a full orchestra. Meanwhile Kazu is working on his first solo album: expect surprises.