"One of the most astonishing releases of 2019" - Brian Howe, INDY Week
READ THE NATION'S FEATURE on the SPIRITUAL AMERICA PREMIERE
Read full breakdown of Forbidden Colors on the Nonesuch Blog
Spiritual America is my album of eight electro-acoustic orchestral art songs exploring nostalgia, longing, and issues of secular spirituality in American culture. The project serves as a vessel through which I attempt to reconcile my youth in a conservative Christian North Carolina household with my adult life as an “agnostic Buddhist” living in Brooklyn. The project began seven years ago when I endured a family crisis and instinctively found myself praying to God. Its narrative centers around an imagined alternate past in which I remained under the dome of my youth pursuing a relationship with a damaged former crush.
For this journey, I invited collaborators I deeply admired and knew would meet the demands of this ambitious music: Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack, Metropolis Ensemble, and Brooklyn Youth Chorus, with mixing by Zach Hanson (Bon Iver’s 22, A Million, S. Carey, The Staves) at April Base, the famed Wisconsin studio founded by Justin Vernon. The album was tracked in Durham, Los Angeles, and New York City.
The project premiered in full at Symphony Space in New York City as part of the Infinite Palette residency on Friday, February 16th, 2018. Spiritual America's west coast premiere was August 5th at the Hollywood Bowl with Bon Iver and TU Dance. The project’s European premiere takes place September 2019 at Sounds from a Safe Harbor in Cork, Ireland. It was released on May 3rd and is the second album in a multi-year partnership between Nonesuch Records and New Amsterdam. Spiritual America was commissioned by the Metropolis Ensemble, the Alabama Symphony, Symphony Space, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series/Walker Art Center, the Palm Springs Art Museum, and the Baltimore Symphony. Additional support provided by Sounds from a Safe Harbor.
The live show includes an opening set of material from Wye Oak recomposed for orchestra, including new material created specifically for this project. An alternate chamber version of the project (including the opening set) is also available for touring. A companion A/V installation series can be paired with the presentation.
The video installations posted above were filmed on location in the Imperial Valley in Southeastern California. Full credits via the youtube links.