There are a lot of ideas buzzing around Californian Art Feynman's head, musical and otherwise. How else to explain his dizzyingly eclectic debut album Blast Off Through The Wicker? Created organically on a four-track tape machine, with no loops or samples, the songs swing from strange, tender ballads to pulsing beats via Krautrock grooves and a healthy dose of fuzz and guitar overdrive. Lyrically, it's just as complex; ostenisbly a rumination on spirituality and what it means to be alive, Feynman finds devil in the detail, whether that's a statue that appears to be crying, synths watching you sleep, or if nature actually is trying to kill us off.
He talked us through the process and ideas behind each song, which you can listen to below in an exclusive stream.
Eternity in Pictures
I fell In love while making this, and it strikes me that a partnership is a process of clarifying yourself to yourself through the other, in order to give to the other in a more complete way; it's like a feedback loop. You get snapshots of yourself that are clear and they don't always feel good; actually, usually they don't. Of course, we are always changing so these are little pictures in time.
I also had an image of a statue with rain on it, which made it look like it was crying, and then thinking about how in a way we are no different, except we put so much more significance on our passing emotions, because we are human, and not stone, but in a way our emotions are just as significant or not significant as rain on a statue within the big picture. The endless transforming moment that is life and death, leaves us with traces of itself in little snapshots as memories.
It's about the pressure we put on ourselves to evolve, both externally through technology, and internally through spirituality. If used wrong they both become versions of materialism, and actually just add more stress and pressure to our lives. The striving for perfection is an illusion we are all caught in. Perfection as an abstraction is fixed, and life in actuality is always changing, so what is perfection?
Can't Stand It
It's about wondering if inanimate objects are in a way conscious, and how it's overwhelming to think about.
Feeling Good About Feeling Good
We feel bad because feeling bad is part of life, but then we feel bad about feeling bad, which seems to add more distress. On the other hand, who wants to hang out with a person who's gloating about how happy they are? There seems to be direct experience, and then the judgment comes after. Life is good, bad, and everything in between, that's not the problem. The real problem is our conceptual relationship to life.
We have honeymoon phases in our lives but eventually, any relationship becomes difficult. The difficulty can be a sign that something about yourself needs to be addressed, but too often we instead find fault in the other, become defensive and let our anger and self-interest get the better of us, which typically leads to a feedback loop of continual fighting.
I like to think about things like modern medicine from a non-human perspective. Nature has natural culling mechanisms to keep populations under control. Of course, no one wants to lose someone close, but I'm sure every animal that has gone extinct as a result of human dominion would have rather stuck around.
Can't have good without bad. We all have both in us, and to strive towards only one side in denial of the other is problematic. Not to say we should act on our negative impulses, but we should acknowledge them, so we can better empathize with others.
Hot Night Jerimiah
It's about the fear of having a child, and I suppose growing up. It's also an exercise in repetition and monotony, it's one that at first may come off as boring, but if listened to deeply can become pretty expansive.
Small House Blues
I live in a small apartment with my girl, and it's not always easy. It's just a little light heartedness to end with.
Blast Off Through The Wicker is out on Friday 14 July via Western Vinyl. For more information on the artist, including upcoming tour dates, please click here.