Since releasing “In Our Nature” in 2007, José González has been steadily collecting ideas for new songs.
An album consisting of years’ worth of musical sketches might naturally sprawl wildly in production and style, but on “Vestiges & Claws,” González has created a collection of songs that cohere just about perfectly. It travels from the glowering, riff-driven ‘Stories We Build, Stories We Tell’ via the groovy ‘Leaf Off /The Cave’ to the anthemic ‘Every Age.’ For those familiar with José’s earlier work there is little doubt as to who is behind these recordings.
“I started out thinking that I wanted to continue in the same minimalistic style as on my two previous records,” says José. “But once I started the actual recordings I soon realized that most of the songs turned out better with added guitars and a more beat-like percussion, and with more backing vocals. Personally, I think this made it a more interesting and varied album.” The result is less purist, less strict. One can find traces of inspired protest songs and eccentric folk rock here: monotonous grooves and rhythms, frustration and optimism. It’s a collection that is simultaneously confident, free and tentative.
Like José Gonzaléz’s previous releases, “Vestiges & Claws” was largely recorded in his home and partly in Svenska Grammofonstudion, both in Gothenburg. Chirping birds, creaking doors and off-mic chattering appear on the recordings; however, José is careful to avoid editing out these imperfections — he wants you to feel the intimacy of the setting.
Where José’s previous albums, “Veneer” and “In Our Nature,” might have sounded sparse and barren in parts, “Vestiges & Claws” has an altogether new feeling to it, at once warmer and darker than before. He talks about how he’s found inspiration in sprawling 70’s Brazilian productions, American folk rock and West African desert blues this time. And how he’s decided to waive the principle of having everything on the album reproducible in a live context.
José sums it up, “I’ve focused more on the role of being a producer this time around, I’ve spent more time thinking of what’s best for the song and the recording.”
Like her name implies, Bedouine’s music has a nomadic heart. Sweeping, hypnotic. Esoteric yet familiar. It is untethered to place because its home is everywhere.
Bedouine’s sound is for the modern cyber gypsy, dipping a curious toe in the swaying Mediterranean before caravaning for weeks across the deserts of the Middle East, and finally catching a redeye back to L.A. for a pre-dawn Southern California stroll.
“It’s in my roots, I love exploring different places and sounds. My childhood was this amalgamation of different cultures, so I’ve never really belonged to a particular place. But being nomadic can be a beautiful thing if you’re accepting of it — not knowing exactly what you’re doing or where you’re going, but with conviction. Being experimental, even with your intentions.”
An outsider and an introvert, Bedouine prefers anonymity but loves making music enough to share hers with anyone willing to listen — even if it means confronting her fears. An aversion to the spotlight led her away from the stage for several years, where she worked from the shadows, composing music for independent films and art installations until something unexpected happened — she wound up in Los Angeles and experienced the opposite of the cliché.