MGMT’s new self-titled album: A journey beyond ordinary you’ve never been on before

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Music is a higher art and not just about topical songs. For me, it’s about sound and having a transcendental experience through sound, and I think words can sometimes get in the way of that if they’re too literal. ~ Ben Goldwasser

MGMT Album – Columbia Records

In their years at Wesleyan University, Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden soon focused on experimental music.  They even played a few experimental operas of Anthony Braxton.   Experimental music has been an important influence for Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden ignored by the press.

Speaking to Electronic Beats, Andrew VanWyngarden remarked:  “Yeah, the scene at Wesleyan was pretty big, and it certainly influenced us, but in a way where we would be in these classes and, well, sometimes it would be really cool and other times it would just get really painful about how academic the approach would be,”   It was so much more of the concept over anything else. That’s why our early shows and approaches to live performance were drawing on experimentation in sort of a tongue-in-cheek way—a parody almost. “‘

In an interview with American Songwriter published on November 8, 2010, VanWyngarden and Goldwasser said their third album will be self-titled, and that “usually if we say something and it gets published, we stick to it. That’s what happened with Congratulations.” Regarding the content of the album, Goldwasser said “Something that’d be fun to do is have a decent number of songs on the album that can easily be extended or have sections that could turn into a really trance-y, repetitive thing live.”

On January 26, 2012 MGMT confirmed in an interview with Gibby Haynes of Butthole Surfers in the inaugural issue of Intercourse Magazine that they had started work on the album. VanWyngarden stated that he has written five songs, inspired by R.E.M..   On February 27, the band began recording the album at Tarbox Road Studios with producer Dave Fridmann.

On January 29, 2013, the band told Rolling Stone that they “are not trying to make music that everyone understands the first time they hear it.”

Later in June,  MGMT revealed via their website that the album was due for release on September 17, 2013.  The band released their full album MGMT prematurely via twitter on September 9 saying they had a “surprise”. Days before its official release, was made pre-release of the album in the service Rdio.

MGMT is the self-titled third album by American psychedelic rock band MGMT released on September 17, 2013.   The album delivers a brand-new sound that celebrates liberated consciousness as they ditch any remnants of creative boundaries. The music awakens feelings and emotions of worry and insecurity — but also of determination, and even optimism –,  that people have to deal with when the future is equally uncertain at all times these days.  As such, they have produced an album with a variety of unique visual elements to accompany and illuminate the new music via “The Optimizer”, which provides listeners a simultaneously aural and optical listening experience featuring video and CGI work.  MGMT is an intricate and vital album that will prove itself in time to be the gift that keeps on giving.

“I don’t think this album is dark or depressing. It’s reality. It’s about freaking yourself out in a good way and getting more real. It’s not about “Everything sucks.  We’re all going to make things better and become better people if we confront those lies,”  Goldwasser said in an interview.

Discussing the album’s two sides, Ben Goldwasser told Electronic Beats: “Actually, a lot of the music on the second half of this album has no harmonic structure at all. It’s just so many layers on top of each other and a lot of things tonally that won’t fit together in a traditional sense. But that’s been done before. I suppose “Astromancy” has ended up being my favorite song, which is the one we finished last. It’s a song where nothing fits together and there’s all sorts of space in between the sounds, which disallows you to concentrate on a single thing. All of the sonic elements appear to be trying to divert your attention. I think it invites a different way of listening. ”

All you possibly need to know about MGMT and their music is in this comment by Ben Goldwasser: “I think a lot of musicians I talk to these days are way too concerned with the commercial side of things and how to market themselves when they should just be making music and not be worrying about outside influences and what people think of what they’re doing.  Especially since ‘Congratulations’ and all the backlash from people who thought we were one thing and they were wrong, we’ve just kind of learned to not try to explain ourselves too much or to correct people. It’s pop music. It’s pop culture. It’s a stupid world in a lot of ways but it’s still fun to be a part of and deconstruct. “

Track listing

All lyrics written by Andrew VanWyngarden, all music composed by Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser except where listed.

MGMT
No. Title Length
1. Alien Days 5:09
2. “Cool Song No. 2” 4:01
3. “Mystery Disease” 4:08
4. “Introspection” (Faine Jade cover) 4:22
5. Your Life is a Lie 2:06
6. “A Good Sadness” 4:48
7. “Astro-Mancy” 5:11
8. “I Love You Too, Death” 5:50
9. “Plenty of Girls in the Sea” 3:04
10. “An Orphan of Fortune” 5:31
Total length:
44:10

Thom Yorke: Spotify is “the last desperate fart of a dying corpse”

Thom Yorke

Thom Yorke – By Alex Young on October 3rd, 2013

“We are entering an age when potentially all creativity stops, the past informs the future, there is no other future.” ~ Adam Curtis

Earlier this year, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich pulled many of their own records from Spotify, including Yorke’s solo album, The Eraser, the full-length debut by Atoms For Peace, Amok, and the full-length debut by Godrich’s Ultrai­sta. The artists cited Spotify’s unfair royalty payments and declared, “Someone gotta say something. It’s bad for new music.”

Yorke continued his crusade against Spotify during a recent interview with Mexico’s Sopitas.com:

“I feel like the way people are listening to music is going through this big transition. I feel like as musicians we need to fight the Spotify thing. I feel that in some ways what’s happening in the mainstream is the last gasp of the old industry. Once that does finally die, which it will, something else will happen. But it’s all about how we change the way we listen to music, it’s all about what happens next in terms of technology, in terms of how people talk to each other about music, and a lot of it could be really fucking bad. I don’t subscribe to the whole thing that a lot of people do within the music industry that’s ‘well this is all we’ve got left. we’ll just have to do this.’ I just don’t agree.

When we did the In Rainbows thing what was most exciting was the idea you could have a direct connection between you as a musician and your audience. You cut all of it out, it’s just that and that. And then all these fuckers get in a way, like Spotify suddenly trying to become the gatekeepers to the whole process. We don’t need you to do it. No artists needs you to do it. We can build the shit ourselves, so fuck off. But because they’re using old music, because they’re using the majors… the majors are all over it because they see a way of re-selling all their old stuff for free, make a fortune, and not die. That’s why to me, Spotify the whole thing, is such a massive battle, because it’s about the future of all music. It’s about whether we believe there’s a future in music, same with the film industry, same with books.

To me this isn’t the mainstream, this is is like the last fart, the last desperate fart of a dying corpse. What happens next is the important part.

Yorke went on to relay his recent conversation with Massive Attack collaborator Adam Curtis in which Curtis said, “We are entering an age when potentially all creativity stops, the past informs the future, there is no other future.” Yorke continued:

“And, it’s like, ‘fucking right, man.’ You know, people like us and him and Massive Attack we need to be standing together. Bullshit, it ain’t over. It’s like this mind trick going on, people are like ‘with technology, it’s all going to become one in the cloud and all creativity is going to become one thing and no one is going to get paid and it’s this big super intelligent thing.” Bullshit. It’s hard not to think about it all the time, because to me it’s the most important thing happening in music since when… it’s like when the printing press came out.”

Listen to the full interview below. Yorke’s comments about Spotify kick in around the 17:30 mark.

(2013/09/29) Reactor 105, Rulo David, Thom
Radiohead’s interviews’ archive