Tip of the Sphere Cass McCombs
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- 1I Followed The River South To What07:36
- 2The Great Pixley Train Robbery04:00
- 5Real Life05:15
- 6Sleeping Volcanoes04:27
- 7Sidewalk Bop After Suicide04:27
- 8Prayer For Another Day04:53
- 9American Canyon Sutra04:45
- 10Tying Up Loose Ends04:34
Info for Tip of the Sphere
Tip of the Sphere follows 2016’s Mangy Love. For that record, McCombs made his television debut on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and was featured in The New York Times’ Sunday Arts & Leisure section. It was named a “Best Rock Album of the Year” by Pitchfork, featured in the Washington Post’s “Best Music of 2016,” plus many other best of 2016 lists, and was his overall most critically praised album.
While most of McCombs albums have been pieced together in different studios over an extended period of time, Tip of the Sphere was recorded quickly and with a strong sense of purpose at Shahzad Ismaily’s Figure 8 Studios in Brooklyn. This new approach for McCombs brought his songs a raw immediacy and a special balance of compassion and experimentation with the intent of making a more consistent statement. The rock songs have more fervor, the ballads are more beautiful, the explorations more confident; the sounds of jazz and Latin music creep in through the back window. Engineered by Sam Owens (aka Sam Evian), Tip of the Sphere features the core band of McCombs (guitar, vocals), Dan Horne (bass), Otto Hauser (drums) and Frank LoCrasto (piano, organ, and more), plus a range of guests.
Tip of the Sphere recounts what has unfolded in the wake of Mangy Love’s pre-inaugural prophetic themes. It presents an artist trying to make sense of it all through a relentless, ever searching creative process. Throughout Tip of the Sphere, McCombs floats through a suite of songs driven by a journeying mysticism and dark grace. The thematic centerpiece of the album, “Sleeping Volcanoes,” is a rousing, rock and roll number that uses a distinct lyrical approach to intensify the narrative. On the main refrain, a key phrase of the song is repeated continuously and taken through its possible meanings, almost like a jazz musician repeating a musical phrase through key and chord changes. As described by McCombs, “Sleeping Volcanoes” is about “people passing each other on the sidewalk unaware of the emotional volatility they are brushing past, like a sleeping volcano that could erupt at any moment.”
The ‘Castillo de la Esfera’ is featured inside the vinyl edition of Tip of the Sphere. ‘The ‘Castillo de la Esfera‘ was created by fellow Northern California artist and contemporary Tahiti Pehrson as an homage to Brion Gysin’s dream machine. When the ‘Castillo de la Esfera’ is placed on top of the record player, and as the record is played (with or without a lightbulb cantilevered in the center), thoughts are encouraged to wander.
Produced by Cass McCombs & Dan Horne
Over the past decade, Cass McCombs has established himself as one of our premier songwriters. It’s a career that’s twisted and turned, from style to subject, both between records and within them. His new record, “Mangy Love,” (8/26, ANTI) ventures into realms of experimental soul, twisted psychedelia, and straight-up rock, resulting in a sound that articulates his live show better than ever before. Thematically, it’s far darker, tackling heavy issues through McCombs’ uniquely cracked lens of (oftentimes hilarious) lyrical wit and acumen toward subtlety. Hip-hop and Beat poetry influences have never been more evident, with several songs employing a speech-style and clever fast-paced wordplay. There are guest appearances by many fellow musicians of his tribe ranging from Angel Olsen to Blake Mills, under the production of veteran Rob Schnapf, and the overall result is his most immediate and upbeat record to date.
This album contains no booklet.