John Vanderslice always makes producing and personnel changes in addition to his usually bigger shifts in subject matter and mood from album to album. For his latest, White Wilderness, he brought in John Congleton (St. Vincent, The Walkmen, Black Mountain, Swan Lake) as well as San Fransisco “orchestra-for-hire” Magik*Magik. He also recorded the album live over just three days. I think the changes are noticeable. Minna Choi and the 19-member Magik*Magik Orchestra amplify Vanderslice’s songs, though the songwriter and his vocals remain intimate and personal, as you can hear on album opener “Sea Salt.” I love that you can hear the little cracks and pops in his voice for the verses, then it sort of goes to a wide shot when the strings come in:
John Vanderslice – “Sea Salt”
Your Truly shot a documentary about the making of the album, and in this preview/trailer you get a sense of how the recording went. For an example of the whole intimate-yet-big thing, check out artistic director Choi conducting the orchestra while barefoot.
White Wilderness is out 1/25 via Dead Oceans. Pre-order here.