New Music From Nico Muhly & Teitur

Posted on Oct 20, 2016
New Music From Nico Muhly & Teitur

On Confessions, American composer Nico Muhly and Faroese songwriter Teitur present a collection of ornate, classically-styled music inspired sonically by the 1600s and paired with seemingly-banal lyrical artifacts from our new digital century. Recorded with the Holland Baroque Society, a group whose mission is “to convince a large and varied audience of the flexibility and vitality of (Baroque) music,” the compositions on Confessions began germinating when Muhly was composer-in-residence at Muziekgebouw Eindhoven in the Netherlands and met Teitur — a succesful pop artist in Europe who has won several Danish music awards, toured internationally, and collaborated with such artists as Seal, Corinne Bailey Rae, and French stars Emilie Simon and Nolwenn Leroy. The songs’ lyrics were inspired by or culled from video and commentary the pair found on YouTube. “We came up with this premise of boring videos, home videos… meaningless videos,” Teitur explains. “It was just fascinating when we started watching them.”

“Teitur took a lot of these things,” continues Muhly, “and looked at the comments and imagined the world that these people inhabited… These are not confessions in a dirty way but more like if you went over to a friend’s house 10 minutes before they expected you and you got a glimpse into something private. As a songwriter, Teitur focuses on a little detail or a little gesture, and then one can divine bigger content.” On “Smoke,” for example, Teitur wraps a meandering confession about addiction – “I always start to smoke in the summer when I’m happy, but then I keep on smoking because I’m lonely and sad. I think it’s time to quit” – around gorgeously winding strings and harpsichords. Songs like “Cat Rescue” and “Sick of Fish” express exactly what their titles imply, including details of everyday life laid out in a sparing, matter-of-fact fashion that is given heft and importance by the surrounding lush instrumentation. “The more [we] watched [these videos,]” Teitur says, “the more [we] started to wonder, ‘What is behind this? Why are people doing this?’ They are really saying, ‘This is really beautiful, this is really sick, this is me,’ people confessing things. And that gave us the title for the record.”

Recommended Tracks: Track 13, “Don’t I Know You From Somewhere,” Track 6, “I Smoke,” Track 1, “Describe You,” Track 7, “Nowheresville,” Track 3, “Cat Rescue,” Track 8, “Coffee Expert”

RIYL: Father John Misty, Julia Holter, Joanna Newsom, Jens Lekman, Bon Iver, Sam Amidon, Rufus Wainwright

FCC Clean

Label: Nonesuch

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