Gruff Rhys on June 8, will drop his fifth album, extending his body of work deeper into the 21st century.
“I’d made a note of the word Babelsberg after driving past a sign when I was on tour in 2014. Cut to a few years later and the studio where I recorded the album was being knocked down just a week after I finished to make way for a ‘luxury’ apartment development. I was looking for a name that evoked the Tower of Babel – people building towers to reach an idea of heaven (but maybe creating a kind of hell – I’m an atheist by the way!) In any case I had written Babelsberg down and when I listened to the songs together, it finally made sense why I’d done that.”
The 10 track album was recorded in 2016, gathering with regular drummer Kliph Scurlock (ex-Flaming Lips) and multi-instrumentalists Stephen Black (Sweet Baboo) and Osian Gwynedd.
Unfortunately, the songs laid low for eighteen months, awaiting orchestral scores by Swansea based composer “Stephen McNeff and the incredible work of the 72 piece BBC National Orchestra of Wales.”
And the album is a doozy.
The caricature style of Rhys is heightened within the stories of ‘Babelsberg’ documenting challenges, ‘grace’, through indelibly delectable presentation of notes.
He’s rep’ed by Rough Trade.
Babelsberg track listing:
1. Frontier Man
2. The Club
3. Oh Dear!
4. Limited Edition Hearts
5. Take That Call
6. Drones in the City
7. Negative Vibes
8. Same Old Song
9. Architecture of Amnesia
10. Selfies in the Sunset
These incredible shows are:
September 12th – Barbican, London (with the London Contemporary Orchestra)
September 16th – RNCM Concert Hall, Manchester (with the Piccadilly Symphony Orchestra)