Did you know Ryley Walker’s Twitter is lit? The psychedelic chamber-folk virtuoso’s feed presents a delightful collection of music-tangential drug commentary, appreciations of garbage American restaurants and the weight gain they entail, flashbacks to his Christian-rock youth and ’90s fashion sense, and brutally honest reflections on the music industry. And the most brutally honest reflection of them all pertains to his own new album:
Getting record master back: “I’ve finally done it. This is the best thing I’ve ever done. Finally.”
Sitting on said record for 3 months: “I’m a fraud and death can’t come quick enough”
— Ryley walker (@ryleywalker) February 26, 2018
The LP in question is called Deafman Glance, and it’s coming in May. I’ve heard it already and can confirm my first impressions of the final product match Walker’s. Whether I think he’s a fraud three months from now remains to be seen, but for now, Deafman Glance sounds like his masterpiece.
In a statement accompanying the album announcement, Walker says he hoped to get away from jamming and improv this time around in favor of carefully arranged compositions: “I didn’t want to be jammy acoustic guy anymore.” He also aimed to make something “more Chicago-y sounding,” which he’s definitely achieved; the Midwest metropolis’ rich musical history is an unmistakable element of Deafman Glance’s exquisite genre cocktail. “Chicago sounds like a train constantly coming towards you but never arriving,” Walker writes. “That’s the sound I hear, all the time, ringing in my ears.”
Not that Walker’s latest could be contained to one geographical or stylistic reference point: There are shades of Nick Drake, Jim O’Rourke, King Crimson, Steely Dan, Beck’s Sea Change, Wilco’s A Ghost Is Born, and a whole CD tower full of
Mudvayne psych, folk, prog, jazz, and post-rock records. It’s truly breathtaking music. Best of all, no matter how far out there Walker’s influences get, each complex song-suite remains deeply approachable. Just listen to lead single “Telluride Speed” and see if you don’t catch my drift — and if you aren’t ridiculously stoked to hear the rest.
Walker’s statement on Deafman Glance:
I think more than anything the thing to take away from this record is that I appreciate what improv and jamming and that outlook on music has done for me, but I wanted rigid structure for these songs. I don’t want to expand upon them live. There’s a looseness to some of the songs I guess, but I didn’t want to rely on just hanging out on one note.
I was under a lot of stress because I was trying to make an anti-folk record and I was having trouble doing it. I wanted to make something deep-fried and more me-sounding. I didn’t want to be jammy acoustic guy anymore. I just wanted to make something weird and far-out that came from the heart finally. I was always trying to make something like this I guess, trying to catch up with my imagination. And I think I succeeded in that way — it’s got some weird instrumentation on there, and some surreal far-out words. And it’s more Chicago-y sounding. Chicago sounds like a train constantly coming towards you but never arriving. That’s the sound I hear, all the time, ringing in my ears.
01 “In Castle Dome”
02 “22 Days”
04 “Can’t Ask Why”
05 “Opposite Middle”
06 “Telluride Speed”
08 “Rocks On Rainbow”
09 “Spoil With The Rest”