While touring the world these past few of years, Alt-J’s drummer Thom Sonny Green has been steadily working on songs of his own. Creating new music while moving across continents provided an outlet for Green’s stress and anxiety.
On Friday, Green debuted his solo album, High Anxiety-- a bewitching instrumental collection of 21 complex tracks. That nugget alone should have filled your stomach with butterflies, but if you’re difficult to excite, don’t worry. There’s more.
Green worked alongside artist and director Nichola Farnan to bring each track to life visually. You can watch them all here. Additionally, Green’s website allows fans to manipulate some of his sounds to create their own compositions. Each “track” is named after a meal, and many of the effects are cleverly named after edibles, including “Toast,” “Avocado,” and “Tequila.” Play away.
It was not an easy task selecting a single song to highlight. I am often insecure about my ability to navigate instrumental albums (Tycho, Explosions in the Sky) correctly. Without words, I find myself in blind, weightless listener free fall. While the journey may be spectacular, I don’t always know if I’m landing on my feet.
In the end, I feel the most steady with “Preach,” thanks to its near tangible texture scored by Green’s fuzzy synths, steady drums, and outer world loops. The song begs you to breathe and be. You don’t feel compelled to move or shake like with most music. Instead, just quietly float above your fears.
I see wonderful similarities between Boards of Canada and High Anxiety. If BoC is just too odd for your tastebuds (but you know, you still try to like them) Green’s art might be just what you need. If you’re looking for even a hint of Alt-J between This Is All Yours and their next masterpiece, move along.
Listen to “Preach,” but promise yourself you’ll listen to High Anxiety as a whole.
Enjoy the dive.