Television Landscape is the sophomore release from groundbreaking NYC composer William Brittelle. The follow-up to his well-received collage-based concept album Mohair Time Warp (2008), the apocalyptic-yet-hopeful mixed-genre concept album Landscape sees Brittelle pushing musical boundaries even further by expressing his uniquely extensive experience with classical, jazz, and rock with brazen mastery. Since dropping in the summer of 2010, the record has attracted serious critical attention. The New York Times hailed it as “a set of flamboyant, richly orchestrated art-rock songs”; Time Out New York, in a 4-star review, called it ”a glorious reclamation of lush sounds that crusty critics have vilified for years… Like the finest AM gold, Television Landscape soothes even as it dazzles”; and Kevin Berger of the LA Times celebrated the album as evoking “an earthquake-weather mood along a painterly musical landscape of searing rock.” In the summer of 2011, the album’s closing track The Color of Rain was chosen for The Believer magazines prestigious annual music issue.
Television Landscape adheres to no limitations of style, genre, or instrumentation. Instead, it is a classically- trained composer’s work to reconcile the disparity between the music he cherishes and the music he enjoys. Also the former frontman to NYC post-punk band The Blondes, Brittelle’s vast and varied influences – from Prince’s Purple Rain and The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds to Ravel, Debussy, and Mingus – come together seamlessly on three-year project Television Landscape. The music is fully notated in every regard and played on both electric and acoustic instruments to reflect a modern day orchestra, complete with ornate string arrangements, epic guitar solos, vintage synthesizers, a children’s choir, and jazz horn sections all performed by esteemed musicians/members of The Long Count, So Percussion, Alarm Will Sound, NOW Ensemble, The Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Dirty Projectors collaborator Matt Marks and more. The record was produced, mixed, and mastered by Lawson White at Clinton Recording.
Dynamic track “Vivid Culture” opens and quickly addresses the album’s themes of environmental destruction, depersonalization, and ensuing catharsis with lyrics based on Brittelle’s own poetry. Single “Dunes of Vermillion” follows, melding Brittelle’s auto-tuned vocals with soaring strings, while 80′s soft rock-inspired ballad “Sheena Easton” features string plucks, a children’s choir, and slick solos from lead guitarist Mark Dancigers. Later, the title track explores a detached, despondent existence – a contrast to the grand album closer “The Color of Rain,” a poignant-yet-optimistic look toward the future. Ultimately, the album is an ambitious, heartfelt endeavor to intertwine Brittelle’s own tumultuous past with the environmental and spiritual crises currently facing our culture and world.
released 27 July 2010
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