With their debut album, New Weather has accomplished something with their electronic music that is usually reserved for heady classical or jazz composers: they created the sonic equivalent of abstract visual art. What is most unique in the case of New Weather is that the visual artist himself is in the band, a situation that allows New Weather to work directly from the impulses that generated the visual works themselves.
The musical and artistic pedigree of the trio New Weather can take a moment to absorb. Sean Curley has released a vast catalog of surreal and exploratory albums under various monickers, from the now coveted cassette-masterpieces by The Wallmen to Seattle’s space-pop duo, The Midget. Amber Rossino also fronted The Midget with Curley and makes minimalist-modernist jewelry informed by visual mathematics. Tomory Dodge is best known as a painter whose work has been collected by a number of major art museums internationally, including The Whitney Museum and The Smithsonian Museum.
Just as Dodge’s paintings can portray the intricate beauty in an explosion or an urban wasteland, New Weather’s music finds its own beauty as dissonance and noise merge with lush synth-based arrangements to form uniquely 3-dimensional, lit- up and colorful soundscapes. All three band members will tell you they don’t work from preconceived methods – yet the music of New Weather did end up as a strikingly similar expression to Dodge’s paintings, specifically the unexpected beauty that can rise out of post-industrial disintegration and entropy (e.g, see the inner gatefold of Dodge’s painting “The Future”).
And, in spite of the weight of these themes, the music is also anthemic and up-lifting – a delicate balance that, in Curley’s hands as a producer, seems effortless. We hear the celestial scrapings of Stockhausen, the minimalism of Kraftwerk or Stereolab, the grooves of Air and the ambient drift of Boards of Canada, even the insistent psychedelia of early Pink Floyd – all layered masterfully into New Weather’s own concoction.
But their influences go deeper andpoint to specific time in the development of electronic music. Dodge explains, “Collectively we own a vast library of early electronic pioneering recordings. I had become very interested with the seventies recordings of Philippe Besombes. We were looking back to a brief moment in history when no one really knew what electronic music was, but they were trying to figure it out, using temperamental equipment in experimental ways and making new music.”
And in that spirit the trio would splay their ideas onto their own temperamental synth rigs in Curley and Rossino’s Seattle- based studio, layering the dense textures, driving beats and revolving arpeggios that make up these vast and compelling soundscapes. Mixer Allen Farmelo (The Cinematic Orchestra, Talk Normal) and mastering engineer Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, MGMT) came into the fold for the final touches, and Tomory Dodge has created the cover art, including a print of his painting “The Future” adorning the entire gatefold of the 12″ LP and CD jackets.
Along with the album, New Weather is releasing a video today from artist Malaki Stahl for the song “Heat Death.” It is a psychedelic, pre-apocalyptic expressionistic piece that resonates powerfully with the visual and music work of the band, building a cohesive aesthetic rarely seen on a debut. The Video is here:
New Weather played a vastly immersive ambient show at the Odd Harmonics art exhibition and performance series last weekend to an awed audience packed into the Judith Charles Gallery in Soho to celebrate this release along with their label-mate Mikael Jorgensen of Wilco. Read what WIRED has to say about Odd Harmonics here: