For a long time, we’ve mostly known Nigel Godrich as Radiohead’s regular producer and as Thom Yorke’s preferred right-hand man. Most recently, Godrich has been part of Yorke’s Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes band. But Gordrich also makes music away from Yorke. Back in 2012, Godrich formed a trio called Ultraísta with singer Laura Bettinson and drummer Joey Waronker, and they released a self-titled album. Now, eight years later, there’s a second Ultraísta album on the way.
The new Ultraísta album Sister is coming in March, and it’s the product of a series of improv sessions that the trio conducted over the years. Godrich then took what he’d recorded at those sessions into the studio, stripping everything down and giving it shape. That seems like a slapdash way to make music, but first single and album opener “Tin King” is an encouraging sign that it can work. “Tin King” is fast, nervous, thumping dance-pop that twists and squiggles without ever venturing into anything like Radiohead territory. It reminds me, weirdly, of something that Underworld could’ve recorded in the ’90s.
Ultraísta directed the “Tin King” video themselves, and it focuses on Laura Bettinson, following her as she swans through London Underground station in a black ball gown and dances in a strobe light. Check it out below, along with the album’s tracklist and some words from Godrich.
01 “Tin King”
04 “Save It ‘Til Later”
05 “Ordinary Boy”
07 “Water In My Veins”
09 “The Moon And Mercury”
In a press release, Godrich says:
All three of us have so many transferable skills, and Ultraísta is an opportunity to do something outside what we’d normally be doing. It’s all of us wearing different hats. For me, when I’m working with another creative force, my point of entry into the music is completely different. With this project it can take a lot longer because we’re able to be more self-indulgent. It’s a control freak’s dream!
Sister is out 3/13 on Partisan.