The music of Angelo De Augustine seems to emerge effortlessly from the ether.
A series of phantom-like songs, the stripped down recordings permit a rare fragility to seep through, a real sense of frailty and innocence.
New album 'Swim Inside The Moon' will be released on August 18th via Sufjan Stevens' label Asthmatic Kitty.
A series of home recordings using the most minimal of set ups, the album is rich in imagination, inventiveness, and the sheer joy of poetry.
New song 'Haze' drifts along in its own world, Angelo's high, keening voice wrapping itself around the tumbling torrent of words.
Matt Czap crafted the animated visuals, working on a concept dreamed up by the songwriter himself.
Effortlessly charming, you can check out 'Haze' below and then find a Q&A after the jump.
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'Swim Inside The Moon' could be the first many fans have heard of you, do you feel it's reflective of your wider work? How close to Angelo does this record go?
We are constantly evolving beings, and as a result can never achieve an exact reflection of anything. Who is this Angelo? My intention is always to follow my instincts and listen to what the voice inside tells me, because it holds more truth than any external presence.
The recording set up was minimal, did this guide the songs / arrangements? Would you work with a more expansive set up in the future?
While the limitations of a modest set-up were an apparent reality, I don't feel that equipment guides the songs. Writing resides in a separate head space that is quite removed, mysterious, and harder to pin down. That's funny that you asked that because I recently purchased a 16 track tape machine and a larger mixing console for my bedroom. There is hardly enough room for my bed any more.
I do believe that the notion of an expansive work isn't exactly synonymous with a larger set up. It's much more complicated than that, often first relating to a song's individual eccentricities and it's power on a cellular level. It's hard to know what the future will hold but I am excited to eventually experience it.
What can you tell us about writing this song? Do songs tend to arrive fully formed for you, or do you tend to piece them together over time?
It seems to be different with each album. For this particular record, the songs came very quickly and in complete form. I don't think that I have ever pieced together a song. I believe that would somehow be a disservice to myself and to the work. It's more about surrendering yourself and being available to help welcome the ideas into existence.
Did you tend to record in single long takes when making the record? Was this song recorded as one performance, or stitched together? What did you gain from this method?
Yes, each song was recorded in one long take with one microphone. I would in some ways compare this experience to shooting photography on film. As anyone who has had the opportunity to work with film knows, there are many time consuming steps that need to be taken to make it possible to view your final photograph. Often, mistakes arise along the way and you have to do it again and subsequently you get better at it,and you discover what is important to you. In the end when you hold your final print, you are so proud of it because of the care that you gave to it.
What can you tell us about the video? It's extremely imaginative!
Thank you. The main character in the animation is a wild creature called a "Snarling." Snarling's are a dry, lunar-aquatic species under the phyla Draco Snarlisus, meaning "skating dragon." At Birth, Snarlings are conceived with roller skates attached to their paws to help them swiftly maneuver around their environment. They enjoy a light breeze on their brow and have a need for constant movement; which holds great influence in the role they play for their ecosystem. They are generally found surveying dry barren plains and are responsible for much of the arboreal growth in a said region.
To explain further, they are naturally early risers and are devoted through their ecological niche, to the waking of clouds that often tend to oversleep in the mornings... The clouds and the Snarlings have a symbiotic relationship that is essential for the production of rain water and the growth of the forests.
Snarlings also live in friendship with and under the guidance of monolithic-like creatures that they call 'Mut'. This great living formation of stone is not currently listed in the moons book of taxonomy and there is currently no evidence to support its relation to any other species. They are very wise and contain infinite knowledge pertaining to the ways of natural order. Their influence is imperative to the sustained health of the inner layers of the moon.
The video feels like watching someone's dream... do you place much weight on the power of dreams? Do they influence your own work?
I'm not sure that I place importance on dreams as guides in daily life, but when I describe what it feels like to write a song, I often cite a dream as a similar experience because it's incredibly intense, subconscious, and transportive, just like a song.
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Catch Angelo De Augustine at the following shows:
9 Leeds The Lending Room
10 Glasgow Broadcast
11 Dublin The Grand Social
13 Manchester The Castle Hotel
15 London St Pancras Old Church