KIERAN HEBDEN AND STEVE REID RECORD ODE TO NEW YORK CITY NYC SET FOR RELEASE ON NOVEMBER 18, 2008 TWO RARE LIVE DATES ANNOUNCED
Domino Records is pleased to announce the release of NYC on November 18, 2008. The album was recorded by Hebden (also known by the name Four Tet) and Reid over two days in February, 2008. The choice of the recording location and studio is at the heart of what the new record is about. Think of a studio that’s seen Missy Elliot, Miles Davis, The Roots, Chic, Steve Reich, Ron Carter, and Joe Henderson record classic sides, then try to imagine a duo whose sound is so open-ended and original that it would be a surprisingly short step to connect them to anyone of those names – a sound that fuses the digital slash-and-staple of sampling and the irresistible momentum of jazz drumming, all without ever forgetting that there’s such a place as the dancefloor. The studio is Avatar, in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen; the duo is Kieran Hebden and Steve Reid.
“Steve wanted to do something with the sound and feel of his home city,” explains Kieran. The whole set, down to the choice of tracks and their sequencing, was influenced by New York City’s (in)famous energies. “NYC is where giants walked the streets, the greatest musicians in the world could be heard on any given night; James Brown, Coltrane, Hendricks, Dylan, Sarah Vaughn and on and on. New York City is always in the rhythms” adds Steve.
“When I first started going to New York with Steve he showed me a different side to the city. He told me endless stories about the music that has come from there that he experienced, about life growing up there, and he also introduced me to old friends and musicians who know another city than the younger generation I know.” Explains Kieran.
“Everything we did when making the record from choosing the studio to the food we ate to mixing the sounds to the order of tracks was done with New York in mind,” he continues. “The artwork for the album is made from pictures taken during the recording. The titles of the songs come from places where Steve is from and my visits. “Between B & C” is where I stayed with a friend during the recording and “arrival” and “departure” are there because New York has only ever been about a week long trip for me that I make a few times each year. I know the city in short bursts.”
The duo’s impressionistic take on their New York surroundings comes out in a language that’s got increasingly developed as the two build up their history. With NYC, Kieran and Steve are already onto their fourth album together in three years, not to mention Kieran’s contributions to Steve Reid Ensemble records in the same time (such as this year’s Daxaar for Domino). This continuous flow of collaboration and work has blossomed into its most satisfying shapes yet. While their earliest sets were instant compositions, Kieran and Steve went into Avatar with a number of themes already mapped out, and road-tested over the course of the previous year’s live shows.
Kieran is credited as playing simply “electronics”, but that doesn’t do justice to the sound collages he whips up here. Sampled fragments of analogue synth, melodica, Kieran’s own electric guitar playing, white noise, all are turned into riffs that are sent to buzz around the central motor that is Steve Reid’s extraordinary drumming. The “talking drum” is a fundamental part of West African musical tradition; but if drums can talk, Steve shows they can sing too, such is the bell-like clarity of his tone and touch. With its garrulous give and take, its musical questions and answers, NYC is Kieran and Steve’s best work yet. The only question it leaves the listener with at the close is: what’s the next destination?
Catch Hebden and Reid at one of these rare live appearances:
12/12 New York City – (Le) Poisson Rouge
12/14 Philadelphia, PA –International House
1. Lyman Place”
2. 1st and 1st
3. 25th street
5. Between B & C