VANDERWOLF continues genre journey with single “3/5th in the Fire”

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Following the widely acclaimed LP, “12 Little Killers”, New York musician Max Vanderwolf will release the retro-futuristic single “3/5ths in the Fire” 2022 via Proper. The song, which was recorded in Camberwell, London with producer Chris Wyles at the helm, has its origins in the raging rock excesses of Vanderwolf’s previous London band, Last Man Standing.

“This song was a staple of our set and was played frequently at festivals like Glastonbury, Lovebox and Bestival as well as clubs like 93 Feet East and Barfly. We recorded it kind of like we performed it, but eventually i had the idea that i wanted to strip it of its skeletal essence and repackage it as something sonically anachronistic Luckily Chris immediately understood what i was looking for…we listened to “Bladerunner” by Vangelis and “Hello Everything” by Squarepusher, among other space-age references. We basically reinvented the song.

The only things left on this released version of the song are Vanderwolf’s call and response vocals which are split between a distressed sound and a vocoded vocal.

Wyles explains: “All drums have been sampled and programmed – the main beats retained until the 2nd verse with a view to making the 7/8 and 4/4 transitions as smooth as possible. Thus, the quarter note accents on the hi-hat, for example, still switch from one to another. The bass was replaced with a combination of Moog and Oberheim. There were several patches depending on the parts and sections, and in places they were enhanced with synth.”

Wyles programmed the chords then arpeggiated them with 2 different arpeggios using a combination of synths but above all an Oberheim SEM synth which brought some interesting things especially in the 7/8 sections. Synth pads have been filtered to add movement and momentum.

“It was written in both 7/8 and 4/4 time and the final section combines the two,” adds Vanderwolf. “Everything was designed to ‘float’ despite the complexity.”

Vanderwolf’s lyrics point to the degradation of human experience in which consensual reality becomes increasingly out of reach and thus the relationship to oneself in turn disintegrates. “I must have written these words in 2016 before our present age of internet conspiracies, false narratives and the plague of technology that silos us has become so prevalent. It is this kind of alienation that I have sought to capture in song.”

As well as being a musician with a long and rich history – notably as the lead singer of the aforementioned cult band, Last Man Standing, whose 2007 debut album “False Starts & Broken Promises” received plaudits from Mojo and Uncut between others – Max Vanderwolf has a hugely successful career as a music programmer and gig producer, working for some of the most famous clubs and concert halls in the world. These include the legendary Knitting Factory in New York and the internationally renowned Royal Festival Hall in London, where for 9 years he produced the Meltdown Festival in close collaboration with David Bowie, Patti Smith, Jarvis Cocker, Massive Attack and Ornette Coleman.

In May 2022, Vanderwolf released the single “When the Fire Grows Cold” which featured legendary singer Robert Wyatt. The sprawling psychedelic B-side, “Extinction,” featured a “glissando” guitar solo by Daevid Allen.

In July 2022, Vanderwolf released the LP, “12 Little Killers” of which Mojo Magazine wrote, “There’s a sophisticated musicality at play” and Rolling Stone France wrote, “The musician has cooked up a classic rock record in the form and diabolically accomplished in content.”

Vanderwolf will release their first album of songs entirely recorded in Los Angeles in March 2023.

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