When liberation comes to mind, what do you think about? Freedom? Emancipation? The removal of restrictions? When you notice that ‰Û÷Liberation!‰۪ is the title of Peter Matthew Bauer‰۪s debut solo album, such questions will inevitably arise.
What‰۪s he got to be liberated from, apart from 13 years as a member of The Walkmen? ‰ÛÏThat‰۪s not it at all,‰ says Peter of his tenure in the beloved NYC band, which has now broken up, in his words, ‰ÛÏfor good. We‰۪re all friends, but it was time to call it a day.‰ Rather, Bauer uses ‰Û÷Liberation!‰۪ as an opportunity to welcome the rest of the world into his personal history of a childhood spent living in ashrams and a life shaped by the constant presence of religion and mythology amidst uncertainty. It‰۪s a bold, bracing collection of songs for the mind, body and spirit with the power to grab you and shake you out of your environment.
What he‰۪s learned and what he imparts both on the title track and across the eleven songs that make up ‰Û÷Liberation!‰۪ is a riot of experiential notions. ‰ÛÏLiberation, as the idea of the record, relates to belief in its various incarnations. In a way I‰۪m trying to poke fun at it; this Western idea of heaven, this Eastern idea that it will take a hundred lifetimes, or a thousand lifetimes to get somewhere better. You can be mad about these things, but you can also arrive at some sort of strange, joyful experience right now without believing anything.‰
The constant changes in scenery that inspired Peter Bauer to write this record highlight a greater truth about the songs on ‰Û÷Liberation!‰۪ - that they exist on multiple levels, they take on meanings other than their intention the moment they left the studio, joined by what he‰۪s phrased in the record‰۪s finale as ‰ÛÏthe mystery of of it all.‰
Conceived largely on a sojourn all across Europe following the dissolution of The Walkmen, ‰Û÷Liberation!‰۪ was recorded at a factory space in the Port Richmond neighbourhood of Philadelphia with friends such as Quentin Stoltzfus, Christopher Colbert, Matt Oliver and former bandmates Hamilton Leithauser and Matt Barrick taking part in the recording and mixing. All of this work accounts for ‰Û÷Liberation!‰۪s saturated, homemade feel, as Peter‰۪s music fuses a wide swath of influences and technique into an assured, anthemic statement in the palette of rock ‰Û÷n‰۪ roll.
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