Saul Conrad is a classically-trained American musician. Almost impossible to categorize his peculiar music: experimental chamber „pop” with surprising key changes, nonsensical rhythmic shifts, overlapping melodies, and folk elements.  His third album is more listener friendly than the previous two. There are easy melodies instead of experiments. But at the same time it’s a very serious album. Perhaps it’s more serious than the previous ones.

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The non-musical influences: Kierkegaard. Especially his book about the despair, “The Sickness Unto Death.” Surprising or not, in Japan the book of the Danish existentialist philosopher is living its own renaissance as anime, manga and video game soundtrack. By the way, always the same thing occurs to me from Kierkegaard (1813-1855): during a night I read through his work titled Either/Or, then I vomited out of the window – but that is quite another story.

The Four Zoas: The torments of Love & Jealousy in The death and Judgment of Albion the Ancient Man.” It’s a prophetic book by English romantic poet William Blake (1757- 1827). Conrad’s album title “A Tyrant And Lamb” references to a pair of poems of Blake: The Tyger, and The Lamb, about the dualism of nature and God. Conrad sings about alternation of this duality in the human sphere.

And now the gruesome list of musicians who have influenced on this album

Blaze Foley, the Duct Tape Messiah, country outsider, was „a genius and a beautiful loser” according to Lucinda Williams, was shot to death at his age of 39 in 1989.

Gram Parsons of The Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers, alcohol, drugs, overdose, 26.

Townes Van Zandt, country music outsider, in the 70s, when the bigger part of his highly praised life-work was released he lived outside of Nashville in a tin-roofed, bare-boards shack with no heat, stayed almost entirely unknown until the 80s, when Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard covered one of his songs, which became a number one hit, and he played at dive bars and lived cheap motels invariably until January 1, 1997, when his femoral neck fracture and his delirium tremens were treated with vodka and weed for good, and stayed 52 for ever.

Harry Nilsson, singer/songwriter, nothing special except for his songs, but a heart attack, 52.

Syd Barrett, the most creative member of the early Pink Floyd, for the most part he wrote the first album alone, LSD, became unable to play in the group, two solo albums in 1970 and nothing more, but a nine parts composition by Pink Floyd to tribute to him in 1975, titled Shine On You Crazy Diamond. Died in 2006 at his age of 60.

Elliott Smith, singer/songwriter, alcohol, drugs, paranoia, suicide, 34. Strange fact, in 1997 he released an album titled Either/Or, which is based on Kierkegaard…

I’m sure, you are very curious

Saul Conrad – “A Tyrant And Lamb” album on Mountain of Leopards and Cavity Search Records. Buy LP or digital copy

 


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