Gruff Rhys new album Seeking New Gods out now
August 9, 2021
Gruff Rhys has scaled a new artistic peak – both musically and metaphorically – with his new album Seeking New Gods, released today (21 May).
His seventh solo album, it was recorded in a desert after touring with his band and then mixed in Los Angeles by Beastie Boys’ collaborator Mario C. The record’s beautiful art direction comes courtesy of long-time Gruff collaborator Mark James.
The record started out as a biography of Mount Paektu, an active East Asian volcano. However, as Gruff wrote, he began to reflect on the inhuman timescale of the peak’s existence and the intimate features that have allowed mythologies to be built around it over centuries. Both the mountain and the songs became more and more personal to him as time went on.
“The album is about people and the civilisations, and the spaces people inhabit over periods of time,” he explains. “How people come and go but the geology sticks around and changes more slowly. I think it’s about memory and time. It’s still a biography of a mountain, but now it’s a Mount Paektu of the mind. You won’t learn much about the real mountain from listening to this record but you will feel something, hopefully.”
Along with this lyrically mountaineering, Seeking New Gods boasts some of Gruff’s most evocative songwriting, as bold melodies, touching atmospherics and some seriously sharp guitar solos pervade the album.
Recognising this sonic sherpa’s adventuring, the record was the subject of a collaboration between Gruff and BBC Research & Development. Following his long history of pushing the boundaries of how music can be experienced, a full, special immersive version of Seeking New Gods can now be heard via the BBC Taster website.
Using new technology to link together at least two devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones, listeners are able to create a kind of homemade surround sound system.
Declared a “suitably mountainous, majestic epic” by Shindig, an “idiosyncratic gem” by NME, an “enlightening experience” by Record Collector and hailed as a further example of Gruff truly “excelling” by MOJO – among so many other great reviews that it would make Mr Rhys blush if we recounted them all here – do not delay your ascent to Seeking New Gods’ peak a moment longer.
Seeking New Gods tracklist:
Mausoleum Of My Former Self
Can’t Carry On
Loan Your Loneliness
Seeking New Gods
Hiking In Lightning
Holiest Of The Holy Men
Distant Snowy Peaks