Not A Drawing is Daniel Carlson’s latest album following on from 2014’s Me You You Me (“…sheer unhurried bliss.” – God is in The TV) and 2010’s critically acclaimed Aviary Jackson (“…the great-grandchild of Sergeant Pepper’s…” **** – R2/Rock ‘n’ Reel )
Not A Drawing is the result of a deeply considered and meticulously executed vision by the artist and his most accomplished work to date.
In the words of the artist himself:
“Initially, I was going to work with the same crew as Me You You Me (all L.A. session players – all amazing musicians) but, once I got done with what I thought were the demos, it was clear to me that they had a feel that was worth keeping. So then I thought that maybe I’d go out to LA and do some overdub sessions with those guys, but by the time I had time to do it, the songs had evolved even further. At that point, I decided that I’d finish it up in NYC and reached out to famed producer Michael Leonhart to see about him helping me finish, but it didn’t look like he’d have time in the near future. However, we did spend an afternoon listening to what I had and he had a key piece of advice: ‘less Paul McCartney, more Pink Floyd,’ which was where I’d wanted to go anyway (more synths, more dreaminess).”
Here’s the video for Cloudy People taken from Not A Drawing:
Here’s the video for Problems taken from Not A Drawing:
“Swathed as it is in luxurious symphonic swaddling, the mood that Carlson creates here is one of sheer unhurried bliss.”
– God is In The TV
“…music that sounds like The Beatles and Air tumbling through space.”
– Q Magazine Website
“It’s psychedelic reflection all the way…perfect to enjoy with a couple of reefers.”
– Tim Merricks, Americana UK
“…with psychedelic sounds drawn straight from bands such as Pink Floyd and the Beach Boys…this new form of kaleidoscopic pop shines through.”
– Hit The Floor
“…introspective and resonating.”
– Vulture Hound
“a trippy and tranced dream dipped odyssey of sonic space walking delights replete with the subtle glazing of shimmering 60’s John Barry styled riffola and a recall of J Xaverre no less.”
– The Sunday Experience
“Eko reminds us of Air, and is perfect chill out material. Just lie back and let the very minimal song take you into the ether.”
“Dream Pop – it’s a genre that has been making a big dent on the indie scene recently. Putting the Dream into the genre is no easy task to do convincingly, but NYC’s Daniel Carlson’s spacey, mournful chords open the track Eko, his vocals kicking in and the tranquil, almost melancholic vibes kick in…”
– Seba Rashii
“…the great-grandchild of Sergeant Pepper’s…” ****
– Rock ‘n’ Reel
“By turns epic, intimate, joyful, and heartbreaking, it’s a record that takes the listener on a cinematic musical journey.”
About Daniel Carlson:
Songwriter, singer, and guitarist Daniel Carlson grew up in Chicago and, following a three year Southern California detour, found himself in New York City in the early 90’s. After spending much of the next five years playing in various downtown rock bands, he withdrew from the scene to rethink the route his musical life had taken.
As luck would have it, Carlson soon stumbled upon then-current records by the High Llamas, Cardinal, and the Divine Comedy (among others). Representing a complete left turn from the power pop Carlson had been playing, these beautifully written and meticulously arranged chamber pop records pointed him in a new direction. Trading in the electric guitars for cellos, french horns, Mellotrons, and Moogs, Carlson spent the next few years relearning most of what he’d known about writing and arranging music.
Carlson’s debut, Aviary Jackson, was his first full length release (following two earlier EP’s, Somnar and Now). Produced by Michael Leonhart (Steely Dan, Yoko Ono), Aviary Jackson features appearances by Glenn Patscha (Ollabelle), David Myhr (the Merrymakers), among many others. Recorded in New York City, Chicago, and Amsterdam (where Carlson lives part of the year), the songs represent the culmination of two years of close collaboration by Carlson and Leonhart. By turns epic, intimate, joyful, and heartbreaking, it’s a record that takes the listener on a cinematic musical journey.
The second album Me You You Me is a honed and refined version of his debut. It is soothing and introspective, awash with atmospheres but with the occasional jaunty hint at 60’s psychedelia. If you let it, the music will plumb melancholic depths but at the same time, it could be a soothing cloud ride into a dream world.
In the making of his most recent album Not A Drawing and arguably a future classic it is worth noting the thought process behind the making of something that, in an age of very transient and mass produced ‘art’, is a wholly refreshing approach, whereupon every detail is painstakingly managed in accordance with the creation of something valuable to cherish.
From the album cover artwork, Daniel explains, “I’ve been working with well known, in the art world – visual artists for my covers from the start. Thus far, they’ve all been people who I’ve gotten to know in NYC. The process is this: I reach out and ask if they’d be interested in doing the art. If they agree, I give them an early version of the (still in-process) record and they’re responsible for both the artwork and coming up with a title for the album. The artist this time around is Nayland Blake, whose work has been shown internationally since the 1990s. I’ve chosen this route because, basically, I think the cover and title – when done well – can really shape how the listener takes in the record. And I think cover art – in general – is mostly a dead art and want to remind people how considered it can be. It’s getting to the point where half the reason I’m making the records is to work with these artists whose work I admire so much.”
On the recording side Daniel says, “Initially, I was going to work with the same crew as “Me You You Me” (all L.A. session dudes – all amazing musicians). But, once I got done with what I thought were the demos, it was clear to me that they had a feel that was worth keeping. So then I thought that maybe I’d go out to L.A. and do some overdub sessions with those guys, but by the time I had time to do it, the songs had evolved even further. At that point, I decided that I’d finish it up in NYC and reached out to famed producer Michael Leonhart to see about him helping me finish, but it didn’t look like he’d have time in the near future. However, we did spend an afternoon listening to what I had and he had a key piece of advice: “less Paul McCartney, more Pink Floyd,” which was where I’d wanted to go anyway (more synths, more dreaminess).”
Daniel adds, “Then there was the Gizmotron. When I was a kid in the late 70s, the local guitar store sold this mysterious device called a Gizmotron. Was totally cool – fit over the strings of the guitar (close to the bridge) and produced a bowing (instead of a picking) sound. Kind of like an early eBow. And that was the only knowledge I had of it (it wasn’t sold for long) until years later, when I learned it had been invented by Godley & Creme (of 10cc fame) and used on their records and so I heard it in that context. Then, last year, I found out that someone had re-introduced it as the Gizmotron 2.0 and I immediately got one and used it extensively on the record.”
Regarding Daniel’s always innovative and enjoyable music videos he worked on the last record Me You You Me with Belarusian (but Amsterdam-based) video artist Maxim Tyminko, Los Angeles-based photographer and filmmaker Jim Newberry, Tokyo based artist/photographer Ichiyo Ikezaki, and also directs them himself with Daniel’s visual art collaborator Cathleen Owens. Since that record, Cathleen and Daniel have made three official videos for the ten-time Grammy nominee Meshell Ndegeocello (at Meshell’s request) for her record ‘Comet Come to Me’.