Out January 25, 2019
With Lalande, Dollshot peel out for parts unknown, with that enigmatic album title—sourced from Brazilian author Clarice Lispector’s 1943 novel, Near to the Wild of Heart—serving as the cryptic signpost for the unpredictable journey ahead. Says Noah, “We were both really taken with the idea of this made-up word, ‘Lalande,’ that’s described in the book as this naked feeling of the infinite when you look out at night over the ocean. This album is about a woman who’s looking in on herself, and it’s ambiguous as to whether or not she’s really alive. That’s the basic thematic framework: these liminal realms that this girl inhabits.”
That sense of bewilderment is intensely palpable from the get-go. Lalande’s opening track, “Paradise Flat,” gallops out of the gate on a propulsive, keyboard-buzzed groove, with Rosie’s sun- beamed melody momentarily conjuring the halcyon days of space-age bachelor-pad pop. But the moment we hit the bridge just 20 seconds in, it all starts to collapse, with the cymbal taps and wandering piano lines raining down like falling bricks... only for everything to snap back into place and repeat the process anew.
As it plays out, Lalande starts to resemble a house of mirrors perched on a fault line. Each song plots out a byzantine maze where familiar sounds—from 19th-century German lieds to ’70s prog and fusion to ’90s post-rock and IDM—are twisted and mutated, and the foundation is constantly shifting underneath. “Things aren’t quite what they seem to be,” Rosie cautions us near the start of Lalande’s haunting title track, and we soon understand why: what begins as a cerebral piano ballad slowly erupts into a turbulent symphony of thundering drums, white-knuckled piano stabs, and saxophone squeals, all while Rosie’s crystalline coo remains blissfully unaffected, like an astronaut who’s become untethered from their ship and is floating off into deep space on a light-headed high. On “Swan Gone,” the song’s suave, rock-noir strut feels like it’s always on the verge of losing its
footing, as if getting swept up in an encroaching windstorm. And then there’s the exquisite, understated anarchy of “Cythera,” a seemingly romantic serenade in the style of classic French chanson, but delivered in an eerie, ghostly echo that summons a free-jazz meltdown like a rudely awakened spirit in a séance.
“There’s an idea of reality that I’m constantly examining and questioning, and that’s very much at the center of this work,” Rosie says. “Also, this idea of false causation: it’s in our nature to want to connect events and actions and make sense of life that way, even though, in fact, it seems to me that there isn’t a connection. I always liked this idea from a folk story about a girl who is in great danger and, to protect herself, she draws a magic circle around herself. If you step outside of that circle, the outside world can encroach on you—and eventually, of course, it does, because something happens and you’re drawn outside of that space. But then that’s just another way of living—between those two feelings.”
For Noah, that core tension lies in the inherently confrontational relationship between Rosie’s pristine, diamond-cut voice and the bull-in-a-china-shop drumming of Mike Pride, who anchors a backing band that also includes bassist Peter Bitenc, keyboardist Wes Matthews, and cellist Kevin McFarland. But the philosophical impetus for Lalande lies in an unlikely, non-musical collaboration with another friend: Hampton Fancher, the veteran screenwriter who invited Noah and Rosie to take part in his creative process while he was working on his script for Blade Runner 2049.
“We’d come every day to his apartment,” Rosie recalls. “Hampton never stops and is always creating and inventing. He would have pages ready for a scene, and we’d go through them, play them out, and he’d refine things. That process really influenced me in how to work and how to take everything that you’re curious about and put it into something you can transform, and translate all that’s happened to you and everything you’ve witnessed and experienced to create an entirely different world. It was really great to be so close to that.”
But their collaboration didn’t end there. On top of contributing the libretto to an upcoming opera Noah composed the music for, Fancher also provided the lyrics to Lalande’s most atypical track, “Circulate Stop,” a free-associative spoken-word narrative cast against an elegiac piano instrumental and pained sax moans reverberating out in the distance. Says Noah, “For me, that track really gets at the feeling of the word ‘Lalande,’ with this delicate but dangerous voice speaking as the music swirls around.”
But from the track’s ceaseless stream of surrealist imagery, a certain essential truth emerges—one that speaks to the arduous creation of an album that was written in Topanga Canyon but recorded in Brooklyn over the course of three years, and which adapts age-old folkloric traditions for the atomized modern mind while updating the music of the ancients into fearless, futurist avant-rock. “The only way to get it done, is it to get it started,” Rosie repeats, before adding: “the only way to get it started is to put the fucker in motion.” The same goes for you. There is no easy safe passage through Lalande—you just have to work up the nerve to step inside and get lost in the labyrinth.
For additional information on Dollshot, please contact: Brendan Bourke • firstname.lastname@example.org • 347-564-2927 Jeff Kilgour • email@example.com • 917-678-4420