Paul Brill, forward-looking creator of 2004s critically-acclaimed New Pagan Love Song, will release his new LP, Harpooner, on his own Scarlet Shame Records on November 21, 2006. His most searing artistic statement to date, Harpooner marks the end of Brills Americana tinges and a full embrace of the intense musical collages he began on NPLS. Its a stunning, challenging, and edgy piece of work, marking the welcome return of one of songwriterdoms most independent and progressive artists.
NYC Native Paul Brill first chipped his musical teeth on the icy landscape of Northern Vermont, wood-shedding and 4-tracking while holed-up in a bleak, rustic cabin. After a few light-deprived winters, Brill sold his belongings and fled for sunny western shores, dabbling in brief stints as an herbal smokes salesman, street performer, valet, corporate errand boy, and marine biology instructor before finding sure footing in the sand. After playing the major label cat-and-mouse game with a band in San Francisco, Paul was soon lured home to NYC, his songwriting similarly taking striking new turns.
Brills first releases, including the well-received Sisters EP and LP combo, were vulnerable and plaintive twang-kissed affairs that showcased a thoughtful songwriting presence. New Pagan Love Song, which merged earlier works acoustic elements with found sounds, samples, and bent beats, avoided a number of the clichés and self-indulgent foibles of the acoustic guitar-meets-electronics crowd. It was a record made by a songwriter genuinely interested in the possibilities of electronic experiments in songwriting. It was an album of comfortable melancholy that took critics by storm.
Harpooner continues further down that path, incorporating heavy-duty cut-and-paste collage elements for a work that comes off like a fever dream. Its a song of reckoning, a last gasp. Its nine tales regard plague, mental illness, misanthropy, and much salt water. In this thoroughly dismantled pop record, Brill collages found sounds, jigsaw beats, and damaged vocals into a work of boxed-in desperation. The acoustic guitar only rears its head now and again and songs are often driven by off-kilter percussion and samples more than anything. Even Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel) stops by to lend his unique bass expertise! The record represents a significant step forward for Brills sonic architecture, exploring further the unexpected collision between organic and electronic sound he first touched upon on NPLS.
In addition to writing and recording songs for his own albums, Brill has composed music for several films, commercials, and, most recently, the theme for a NPR program. Brills original score for the upcoming HBO feature documentary, The Trials of Darryl Hunt, was hailed by Variety as memorably chilling, sounding notes of purest dread."
Paul is shooting a video for the Harpooner track Dont Tell Them soon. The video will be directed by Barney Miller, who has worked with Kanye West, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Gillian Welch. Also working on a video for Paul is animator Joel Trussel, known for his outstanding work on Jasons Forrest War Photographer video. Speaking of Forrest, for Harpooners first single (and arguably poppiest song), Paris Is On, Brill has enlisted the help of insane electronic artist Jason Forrest to remix the song, yielding some interesting results. Paul is assembling remixes of the song at the moment.
Melancholic anthems for the weary and down-and-out...Brills defining moment... Critics Choice Top 10 CD of 2004 - Rolling Stone
A demure opus that serves as a testament to the enduring potency of classical pop songwriting...virulently catchy... Pitchfork Media
One of the most compelling and stunning albums released in 2004...
4 1/2 Stars (Out of 5), Editors Choice, All Music Guide
[Brills] sly, pretty voice and acidic take on life...sucks you in...
Pagan sounds like it could have been the soundtrack to a lost Wes Anderson film. GQ
"One of the most sophisticated, yet subtle, indie songwriters around." CMJ