EP Artwork by Thibault Geffroy
EP Tracks – Soundcloud listening link
Bring Them In – animated video
An astonishing new project OUTSIDER has come from the hands of Philippe Cohen Solal of Gotan Project and Mike Lindsay of Tunng.
They release OUTSIDER, an EP of three heart soaked pop songs from the forthcoming album of the same name on 27thNovember, inspired by America’s most celebrated Outsider artist Henry Darger – whose lyrics written over 50 years ago, have been set to music for the first time and brought into the present day.
For those in the know, Henry Darger is America’s answer to William Blake and has inspired artists like the Chapman Brothers, and musicians like Nick Cave, David Byrne and Devendra Banhart.
Outsider is a totally unique, experimental artistic project that is the brainchild of Philippe Cohen Solal, who if you know his work, is already a multi million selling artist via Gotan Project, he has had a connection with Darger’s work for nearly 2 decades, and has been given exclusive, unprecedented access to Henry Darger’s life and works. Philippe has brought together Darger’s original lyrics and visual art for a killer collaboration with the creative genius of Mercury prize winning producer Mike Lindsay, Hannah Peel (who composed the music for Game Of Thrones final season, The Last Watch) and the crooning Scott Walkeresque vocals of Adam Glover, to inspire this incredible body of work.
Philippe Cohen Solal said “I first came across Henry Darger’s work in 2003, and it has stayed with me ever since. I feel I know Darger. So many years I’ve been reading his books and living with his work and words. I feel connected because of the kind of child he was. He had a terrible childhood, really traumatising. When I was a child, I thought I was crazy. I really did. Everybody thought he was crazy, for real. The outside world was pretty mean to Darger when he was young and I relate it to what is happening to the world now. OUTSIDER has been five years in the making and it’s been a real labour of love. I’m so excited to work with Mike, Hannah and Adam to finally share the magic of Darger in musical form with the world.”
The EP contains three truly anthemic, timeless tracks of stunning beauty ‘Who Will Follow Angelinia’, ‘Hark Hark’, and ‘Bring Them In’, each with a magical touch of 1950s / 1960s Americana with a dark and broody twist. Solal, Lindsay, Peel and Glover have brought together their towering musical talents to record the album in LA. The rich instrumentation and vocals that is, at times theatrical, nostalgic, magical and innocent, combine with Darger’s lyrics and storytelling to spirit the listener away into panoramic, water-coloured sonic vistas. With the gorgeous sonics achieved by recording with vintage ribbon microphones, OUTSIDER has rolling emotional strings, anthemic horns and soaring symphonies, vintage guitars, warped tape loops, synths and even children’s instruments.
Immersing themselves in Darger’s inner world, Solal and Lindsay have created a new musical dimension, taking us on a journey into Darger’s imagination; the ‘Realms of the Unreal’.
Louder Than War are proud to premiere the stunning video for ‘Bring Them In’, whichnhas an extraordinary animated video directed by Gabriel Jacquel inspired by Darger’s watercoloured panoramas, with art direction from Philippe Cohen Solal himself and Pascal Gary. The video featuresAdam Glover’s vocals singing Darger’s lyrics to save and keep safe the Vivian Girls, the heroines of Darger’s epic novels who are bravely marching against an enemy battalion of soldiers who wish to capture them.
Philippe Cohen Solal said of the video “Just as this musical project has created songs from Henry Darger’s words, the video set out to reimagine the world created by Darger by using the visual palette that he himself had laid out in his original paintings and act as a visual counterpart to the music, recreating Darger’s ‘Realms of the unreal’. Darger wrote the lyrics to ‘Bring them in’ more than 50 years ago and yet this rallying song that is a cry to save the children from the evil forces, seems just as poignant now as it was back then. The beauty of the animation captures the innocence and urgency of Darger’s vision.”
Mike Lindsay said “The music we created for OUTSIDER sounds like a very twisted long forgotten musical, with an evil twist and a very innocent blanket wrapped around it. I don’t know where it fits into contemporary music but it’s classic, it’s beautiful and it’s experimental.”
Hannah Peel said “You’d think the way he was writing, he’d gone to Woodstock on a crazy trip and then gone to church to cleanse his soul. He was a janitor but it’s like he had about ten different past lives, and ten future lives … Musically, it’s more resonant than ever. It’s really energetic and full and so full of hope and beauty and I think that’s really important with what we’ve all been through over this last year.”
Henry Darger’s works were only truly discovered by the world after he died in 1973 in Chicago. Darger, who had a traumatic childhood of neglect and lived his adult life as a reclusive hospital janitor and dishwasher, shocked the art world when his landlord Nathan Lerner discovered that Darger was a prolific visual artist and epic novelist. Over 300 pieces of art were discovered in Darger’s apartment, including unpublished 15,000-page fantasy novel, The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, and 8,500 page follow-up, Further Adventures of the Vivian Girls in Chicago, and several hundred panoramic illustrations. Darger’s remarkable visual works, much like his stories, depict a fantasy universe where innocent and valiant child heroes battle against malevolent foes. Darger has been the subject of many documentaries and movies and his works, which are exhibited across the world in Chicago, New York, Paris and Tokyo, sell for millions.
OUTSIDER, the full album, will be released on 5th February 2021 on ¡Ya Basta! Records.