Some things should be done alone. If you agree, Chad VanGaalen is most likely right up your alley—because he does it all alone. An old tape machine, a JVC ghettoblaster, umpteen instruments, some handmade by himself: That‘s all he records his songs with, in the basement of his Calgary house. Songs that are just great.
There were enough possibilities to fuck up »Soft Airplane« big time, though. Example? Singer/songwriters with electronics: often goes terribly wrong. Either they are equipment nerds, being able to code assembler, but not to write a good song. Or the songs are just fine, but the electronics feel weirdly out of place. With VanGaalen, warm voice and cold electronics don’t add up to lukewarm, but to hot. Extremly hot. Albums recorded at home: feels like a makeshift solution at times. In some cases you even feel an urge to send the artist some well concealed cash to make a real studio a little more affordable next time. »Soft Airplane« however sounds like it should sound: just right.
Well, VanGaalen had enough time to practice: His first two full-length efforts, »Infiniheart« and »Skelliconnection«, were recorded at home, too. Thirtysomethings singing about death: often awkward, to say the least. But: »Soft Airplane« is an album like Neil Young’s behemoth »Harvest« (the two Canadians even got a quite similar voice, by the way): amazingly adult and mature, despite the young years of the artist, delightfully deep. Thoughtful without being heavy-headed. A certain longing for death without the noose around the neck. Ravishingly morbid, just like VanGaalen’s hand-drawn music videos.
Ok, you might ask yourself why Altin Village & Mine is releasing an album which came out three years ago on Sub Pop. Well, first of all, it will be available on vinyl with gatefold cover and all the shenanigan for the first time and just in time for VanGaalen’s euro tour. Secondly, it’s got two bonus tracks and a download code. And thirdly, this one’s just timeless. Everything just done right.
released August 1, 2011
Catalog Number: AVM 040
Recorded, mixed & mastered by Chad VanGaalen at Yoko Eno, Calgary, AL; Designed by Chad VanGaalen, Calgary, AL; Additional accordion on Willow Tree by Matt Flegel; Additional vocals on Willow Tree by Julie Fader
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