Pre-Order. Released 27th August, via Jagjaguwar
Ever since childhood, learning to play various instruments in a suburban Cincinnati basement alongside his brother Bryce, Aaron Dessner has consistently sought an emotional outlet and deep human connection through music — be it as a primary songwriter in The National, a founder and architect of beloved collaboration-driven music festivals, or collaborator on two critically acclaimed and chart-topping Taylor Swift albums recorded in complete pandemic-era isolation at his Long Pond Studio in upstate New York, among many other projects. Through it all, Dessner has brought together an unlikely community of musicians that share his impulse to connect, celebrate and, most of all, process emotion and experience through music.
This generous spirit and desire to push music forward has never been more deeply felt than on Big Red Machine’s “How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?,” the second album from Dessner’s ever- morphing project with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. In 2008, while assembling material for the charity compilation “Dark Was the Night,” Dessner sent Vernon a song sketch titled “big red machine”. Vernon interpreted “big red machine” as a beating heart and finished the song accordingly — a metaphor Dessner says
Released in 2018, Big Red Machine’s self-titled debut album evolved from improvisation and what Dessner calls “structured experimentalism,” with an ear toward building tracks that would work well in a live setting alongside visual elements. When Dessner and Vernon started the Eaux Claires Music Festival in 2015, they staged the original “Big Red Machine” as an improvisation-based performance piece. They later took that show to the PEOPLE collective’s Berlin residency and festival, and to Dessner’s Haven Festival in Copenhagen.
New Big Red Machine material began taking shape in spring 2019, when Vernon came to visit Dessner at Long Pond. The first week produced songs such as “Reese,” “8:22am” and eventual album opener “Latter Days,” a haunting number sung by Vernon and Anaïs Mitchell that set the emotional tenor for what was to come.
In the ensuing months, Vernon and Dessner would meet up when they could, and in the meantime, Dessner developed the existing material and wrote new instrumental tracks which he sent Vernon, always eager to hear what he would receive back.
Available on limited opaque red vinyl