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Music  >>  CDs  >>  Rock/Pop

Lee Ranaldo & Raül Refree

Names of North End Women

Lee Ranaldo & Raül Refree Names Of North End Women
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Lee Ranaldo & Rau¨l Refree have announced details of their new album, Names of North End Women, available February 21 on indie exclusive white vinyl, standard black vinyl, CD and digital platforms via Mute. Ranaldo and Refree worked together on Ranaldo’s last solo album, Electric Trim. Soon after, the pair returned to the studio to record the follow up and realized that the product would become what Ranaldo describes as “the beginning of a new partnership, a new configuration.” For Ranaldo – a cofounder of Sonic Youth and one of the greatest guitarists of his generation as ranked by both Rolling Stone and Spin – and Refree, an artist reinventing traditional flamenco guitar (his album with Rosalía continues to grow internationally), this is an album that features tracks with little or no guitar. Instead, they composed using marimba and vibraphone, samplers, a vintage 2-inch Studer tape recorder and a modified cassette machine Ranaldo had used in performances 25 years earlier. “We were mixing in all these strange analog sounds from old cassette tapes, dealing with tape hiss; using very new technology and very old technology and mixing them together,” remembers Ranaldo. The words came in a process akin to the music, a collagist philosophy prevailing, as Ranaldo recomposed poems from his archives, wrote new pieces and incorporated lines sent by Jonathan Lethem, who’d helped pen the songs of Electric Trim. The result is an album alive with the electric crackle of experimentalism, yet satisfying as a collection of songs. The album’s title came from an experience Ranaldo had walking through a neighborhood in the North End of Winnipeg, Manitoba. All the streets were named after women: Lydia, Kate, Dagmar, Juno, etc – first names only, which implied something anonymous, or universal. Who these women are or were is not indicated, which lends their choice a certain mystery. Ranaldo jotted the names down, in poem format, and explains, “somehow it became an impetus for the lyrics in terms of the people that drift in and out of one’s life, some significant, some fleeting.” “This album loosens the bonds from the idea of what songs can be, and both Rau¨l and I are excited to see where we can push it further,” says Ranaldo.

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