Alexis Taylor announces Listen With(out) Piano, a companion album to his 2016 record Piano. Released March 3rd 2017 via Moshi Moshi, Listen With(out) Piano features new versions by artists including Papa M (David Pajo), Green Gartside (Scritti Politti), Spring Heel Jack, Beatrice Dillon, Brian DeGraw (Gang Gang Dance), which can be played on their own, or at the same time as the songs on Piano, to create a brand new listening experience.
Hear Green Gartside from Scritti Politti's version of 'Repair Man' blended with Alexis Taylor's original here. Or listen to Green Gartside's version by itself, and have a go at syncing it up with the original yourself.
The album features the work of eleven of Alexis’s favourite musicians, handpicked to create new tracks designed to work in response to the songs on Piano, the third solo album by the Hot Chip frontman. Though the record can be synched with the original Piano recordings by playing both albums on two devices simultaneously, the tracks on Listen With(out) Piano can be also be enjoyed as original songs on their own merits.
“My brief was both very wide open and very specific, and part of the pleasure for me, and now hopefully for the listeners, is to see how everyone responded so differently to the task,” Alexis explains. “The results are truly amazing, and here you have a new album that works both as a kind of electro-acoustic ambient companion piece to Piano, and as a series of musical clothes to be put onto the deliberately bare record I released.”
Piano, recorded at Hackney Road Studios by Shuta Shinoda, was released in June 2016 by Moshi Moshi. An intimate collection of songs comprised entirely of Alexis’s vocal and piano, the record was captured live to preserve each intricacy.
Since 2000, Hot Chip have released six studio albums, as well as a wealth EPs, stand-alone singles, compilation exclusives, remixes and covers. Including Piano, Alexis has released three albums and an EP under his own name, as well as three further albums of material performed with the semi-improvisational About Group. Additionally, Alexis has crafted side projects such as Booji Boy High and collaborated with the likes of Wiley, Peter Gabriel, Will Oldham, Fimber Bravo, Bernard Sumner, Robert Wyatt, Justus Köhncke, The Memory Band, James Yorkston and David Byrne among many others.
Listen With(out) Piano released March 3rd 2017 via Moshi Moshi. Available to pre-order now via Rough Trade.
Listen With(out) Piano tracklist
01. I’m Ready (Lung Dart)
02. So Much Further to Go (Mammalien)
03. Crying in the Chapel (Beatrice Dillon)
04. Without Your Name (Susumu Mukai)
05. In The Light of the Room (Betsy Taylor)
06. Lonely Vagabond (Rupert Clervaux)
07. Repair Man (Green Gartside)
08. Don’t Make My Brown Eyes Blue (Spring Heel Jack)
09. I Never Lock That Door (Jennifer Herrema)
10. Just For A Little While (Papa M)
11. Don’t Worry (Brian Degraw)
Alexis has announced a series of live shows across the country in February and March.
February 22nd - London, Cafe Oto w/ Charles Hayward & Pat Thomas
March 12th - Brighton, Komedia
March 19th - Bexhill, De La Warr Pavilion
March 21st - Bristol, Colston Hall - The Lantern
March 22nd - Liverpool, Philharmonic Hall - Music Room
March 23rd - Manchester, St Michael's Church
March 24th - Gateshead, The Sage
“The video for So Much Further To Go is my favourite so far of three collaborations with director Simon Owens, and has something of a silent movie ‘Myth of Sisyphus’ feel to it. I’m not rolling a rock up a hill continuously but am instead stuck, peddling endlessly on my exercise bike, as the world is moving around me. Making the video was like making a Werner Herzog film with a budget of £300, but with Broadwater Farm Estate behind me instead of the Amazonian jungle.”
8th Oct - GLASGOW - PLATFORM (part of Eastern Promise Festival)
22nd Oct - LONDON - BARBICAN (with Scritti Politti at a Night of Collaborations, also featuring John Grant, the Raincoats, the Pop Group and more)
Alexis Taylor pares everything back to just piano and voice for an intimate record of new songs, reinterpretations of his own writing, and a selection of favourites both well-known and unheard before by other artists. Recorded at Hackney Road Studios by Shuta Shinoda, Piano invites the listener to be privy to a very private recital, with Alexis’ vocal and piano captured live and up-close, preserving each beautiful moment.
"I had always wanted to make a loose and to some extent unplanned piano record - partly inspired by an un-made but suggested Alex Chilton solo piano LP that a friend of mine told me about 15 years ago or so. I began one a few years back which then morphed into the second About Group LP - but the idea stayed in the back of my mind all the while.
“The idea with this record was to choose songs of my own and others' that were personal to me and to document live performances which were intimate and unadorned. I wanted to reduce everything to the barest elements, record a great piano well and do as little as possible to the recordings eq or effects-wise. The mood created on the record is pretty different from that on other records I have been involved with. It feels like a special place to be able to go to."
Piano is a very personal and private record in some respects, but one which looks outward to celebrate lives of friends now passed, as well as love for those closest to us, and music itself.
“After it was completed Piano struck me as a sort of gospel record in places - albeit an atheist's gospel album, if that's possible. 'In The Light of the Room', Elvis's 'Crying In The Chapel', the hymnal 'I Never Lock That Door', and the miracle-referencing 'So Much Further To Go' - they have that feel to them for me lyrically and musically. But the Miracles in 'So Much Further' are Smokey's as much as anything Biblical, and the reference to both silence and music filling the air reflects the album’s observations about absence, loss, repair and surrender to love and sound. The song is one I was really happy with when I first wrote it partly because it offered some mystery to me - I didn't fully understand it. After a close friend and collaborator passed away during the making of this record - actually someone who I had asked to contribute small string parts to it - I felt I understood it all too well: 'Life's a miracle - a miracle that's hard to bear'”
As well as Hot Chip’s six studio albums the band has released a wealth of material scattered across EPs, stand-alone singles, compilation exclusives, remixes, and covers. Thus far Alexis has released two LPs and an EP under his own name, as well as three further albums of material performed with the semi-improvisational About Group. Additionally, Alexis has crafted side projects such as Booji Boy High and collaborated with Wiley, Peter Gabriel Will Oldham, Fimber Bravo, Bernard Sumner, Robert Wyatt, Justus Köhncke, Green Gartside, The Memory Band, James Yorkston and David Byrne among many others.
Piano is due for release on 10 June, 2016 via Moshi Moshi and features cover artwork by Oliver Payne. The album features:
02. So Much Further to Go
03. Crying in the Chapel
04. Without Your Name
05. In The Light of the Room
06. Lonely Vagabond
07. Repair Man
08. Don’t Make My Brown Eyes Blue
09. I Never Lock That Door
10. Just For A Little While
11. Don’t Worry