|Atlas Sound – Parallax (2011)|
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Birth name: Bradford James Cox
Born: May 15, 1982
Album release: November 8, 2011
Record Label: 4AD Records
Recorded: June 2011 at Rare Book Room Studios, Brooklyn, NY
Genre: Alternative, Electronic
All songs written and composed by Bradford Cox.
01. "The Shakes" 2:57
02. "Amplifiers" 2:49
03. "Te Amo" 4:14
04. "Parallax" 2:46
05. "Modern Aquatic Nightsongs" 4:09
06. "Mona Lisa (feat. Andrew VanWyngarden)" 3:06
07. "Praying Man" 2:48
08. "Doldrums" 4:35
09. "My Angel Is Broken" 4:58
10. "Terra Incognita" 6:25
11. "Flagstaff" 5:54
12. "Lightworks" 3:56
13. "Quark Part 1" 7:47
14. "Quark Part 2" 2:42
Tracks #13 + #14: Japanese bonus tracks.
Credits adapted from Allmusic:
Bradford Cox - Electric bass , Collage, Drums, Guitar, Acoustic guitar, Electric guitar, Instrumentation, Keyboards, Oragn, Percussion, Piano, Rhythm Box, Sequencers, Synthesizer, Synthesizer bass, Tapes, Telecaster, Treatments, Vocal Drone, Vocals, Wurlitzer
Paul McPherson - Cabasa, Hi-hat, Wood block
Carrie-Anne Murphy - Saxophone
Andrew VanWyngarden - Organ, Piano, Vocals (Background)
Bradford Cox - engineer, composer, producer, programming
Nicolas Vernhes - engineer, mixing, producer, programming
Mick Rock - cover photo, photography
Liz Vao - photo production
Kari Bauce - grooming
4AD Parallax website: http://4ad.com/parallax/
After Parallax was recorded, Bradford Cox was forced to continue touring with Deerhunter, which ended up being so stressful for Cox that it caused him to have a nervous breakdown. Cox related album's title to his lifestyle, saying:
“ It's all about parallax, man. Five years for one person is 20 for another, you know? It's like, if a car is coming towards you down a highway and you're going towards it, it's like this distortion of how fast things go by. And I guess my time as a musician has gone by so fast that I realized that I have no personal life. The other guys in Deerhunter, they all found things. And I just have monomania.
Bradford James Cox (born 1982 in Athens, Georgia), is an American musician best known for his role as the lead singer and guitarist of Atlanta, Georgia-based psychedelic and ambient band Deerhunter. He also pursues a solo career under the moniker Atlas Sound. Cox formed Deerhunter with drummer Moses Archuleta in 2001. The band has released 4 LP's along with several singles and EP's. Atlas Sound is a name Cox has used since he was ten to refer to his own music, but his first full-length produced under the name was Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See but Cannot Feel, released in 2008. Cox's method of creating music is stream-of-consciousness, and he does not write lyrics in advance.
Amazon Editorial Reviews:
Welcome to Parallax, the 3rd long player from Atlas Sound, the ever expansive solo project from Bradford Cox of Deerhunter. Atlas Sound is not a "side-project," but rather a fully fleshed musical landscape chock-full of pop chronicles culled from sci-fi fever dreams and mid century rock . This is perhaps Cox's best work to date, juxtaposing his modern, sometimes avant, songwriting sensibilities against a backdrop of ambient loneliness and a quiet feeling of desperation. The artwork and photos were done by Mick Rock, the legendary photographer best known for his work with David Bowie.
"Logos" set my aural world on fire when it came out, and I found it purely accidentally when I was browsing the 4ad catalog. I love 4ad as a label, ever since the Cocteau Twins defined dream pop in the 80's. I found Atlas Sound to be wonderfully within that tradition of beautiful, floating, challenging music, and Parallax continues the good things that I loved from Logos. Cox's voice is alternately gritty and velvety, and there is an urgency to his songs that propels the disc along, pulling you towards the inner vortex of his musical vision--but what you find there is truly anyone's guess--a maelstrom of desire? A statically charged love song? Bossa nova influenced detuned angst? All of the above? Yes, yes, and again, yes. As you expect, Songcraft is strong, with definite changes from song to song, this is not just an aural collage. Rather, it is an experimental song cycle performed with assurance and refreshingly evident passion. Echoing loops, complex underpinning with electronics, and heavily treated guitar sounds are brought together by Cox's affecting singing. There is a lot of emotion to be found on all the tracks, and although this album is going to take a lot of exploration to truly understand it, the music is so viscerally interesting, beautiful and exciting that I look forward to that exploration very much. An album that I expect to appreciate for a long time to come.
On his most recent outing under the Atlas Sound moniker, 2009’s Logos, Bradford Cox let a little light into his gloomy bedroom. The muddled synths and whispery melodies that previously defined the Deerhunter frontman’s solo project were exchanged for crisp acoustic guitars and wider outlook. But Cox still cast his fractured pop with a morbid touch -- see the regret at the heart of Logos’s jangly standout, “Walkabout” -- and if the overall effect was sunnier, it was only because Cox found subjects other than himself on which to focus.
In many ways the new Atlas Sound album Parallax continues the aesthetic progression apparent on Logos. Glistening guitar tones prevail. Song structures flex tightly from the efforts of a studied popsmith. Parallax is easily Atlas Sound’s best-sounding album to date. But it’s also step inward, a return to the personal preoccupations of Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See but Cannot Feel.
It would be easy, and maybe preferable, to let the gorgeous lo-fi layers of Parallax wash over you and not worry too much about the words being sung. Even with added force Cox gives to his vocals, and the higher spot in the mix they take, he’s not exactly a pro at enunciating, and you can ignore these lyrics if you want to. But it’s hard to get away from the opening salvo of “Give me pain, give me bruises” in the title track, or “Is your love worth the nausea it would bring?” in “Modern Aquatic Nightmares.” The view these songs take toward love is kind of what this album is all about. In case you’ve forgotten your Astronomy 101, “parallax” is the effect whereby an object seems to shift position due to the movement of the observer. Love evades, Cox argues. Seen from a distance, it’s motionless and resolute. Then you run right past it.
That doesn’t necessitate not trying, though. “Te Amo” is maybe Cox’s prettiest song yet, a shimmeringly somber portrait of arms outstretched. Set to a circular piano figure and gently pulsing percussion, Cox belts out a series of offers to someone heartbreakingly distant. And on the sha-la-la-ing “Praying Man,” Cox is either brutally ironic or unflinchingly faithful: “Kick me when I’m down…I’ll rise again, I’m a praying man.”
Kind of like Parallax’s album cover, which shows a half-lit Cox gripping a vintage microphone, the artist is only half visible here. Cox has become adept and sneaking in and out of various personas, at keeping the connection between his art and himself tenuous and vague. As he told the New York Times in reference to the Parallax song “Lightworks,” “I cannot say I really believe this, but then again, I probably do.” Cox can seem either a lovelorn wallflower or a cynical narcissist, depending on the angle. Maybe it’s not love he’s chasing. Maybe it’s himself.
Review by Wilson McBee
For the most part, Bradford favors vintage and modern Fender and Gibson guitars. Some of his guitars include:
Fender Jaguar (1966 Sunburst with bound neck)
Fender Jazzmaster (1964 Originally white, now yellow)
'74 Gibson Les Paul Signature
Fender Bronco (70s stripped natural finish)
Effects & amplifiers:
Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner
Line 6 DL4
Home Brew Electronics Power Screamer
Behringer Reverb Machine RV600
Digitech DigiVerb (through Mic for Vocals)
Digitech DigiDelay (through Mic for Vocals)
MXR Distortion +
Z.Vex Box of Rock
Boss SL-20 Slicer
(this list in incomplete)
When playing with Deerhunter, Bradford will usually run his guitars through a Vox AC30 amplifier, and occasionally a Marshall half-stack or a Fender Hot Rod DeVille 410.
Pitchfork Review / Nick Neyland: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/15998-parallax/
Photo credit: Rachel Carr
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