Robert Stillman with Glass Ghost
Rainbow is the new album by Maine-bred composer/performer Robert Stillman. To the extent that music can describe life, Rainbow serves as a window into the past four years of Stillmans own: a time of birth, death, love, and learning, and through these things, a new willingness to look the world in the eye. The album is structured around dedications: to his wife, Anna; to his late daughter Ruth, and his second-born daughter Romilly; to the landscape of his adopted home in East Kent, England; and to his blue station wagon, Warren.
Rainbow finds Stillman exploring new stylistic territory, reconciling influences as disparate as the Brazilian psychedelia of Milton Nascimento with the uninhibited poetics of Ornette Coleman, the Social Music of Harry Smiths Folkways anthology with the early electronic Klangstudie of Herbert Eimert. The musical diversity on this album is no doubt a product of Stillman’s varied musical life, which started with saxophone lessons in his native Portland, Maine. A move to Boston at age 18 to study jazz introduced him to the like-minded colleagues with whom hed later move to New York, including future members of bands such as Glass Ghost, Dirty Projectors, Caveman, and Here We Go Magic. Upon moving to New York in 2001, this circle was widened further to include new collaborators such as Luke Temple, Chris and Kurt Weisman, and members of Grizzly Bear.
Since the release of their debut album Idol Omen in 2009, Glass Ghost‘s founding members Eliot Krimsky and Michael Johnson have kept plenty busy. In addition to significant travels as Glass Ghost, including a tour with White Rabbits, Johnson joined Dirty Projectors as their new drummer, and Krimsky has been collaborating with Here We Go Magic on keys. For their newest record, LYFE, the group recruited many of their friends to contribute, including Joan Wasser of Joan As Policewoman, Nat Baldwin of Dirty Projectors, and Christopher Tignor of Slow Six and Wires Under Tension. Pushing their songs to new levels by working with Brooklyn’s musical elite is nothing new for Glass Ghost. They worked with more than a dozen of their friends from Brooklyn’s music community, including Sharon Van Etten (who in 2011 noted Eliot Krimsky is one of my favorite writers.), Here We Go Magic’s Luke Temple, and Matt Iwanusa of Caveman, for their debut which was described by the New Yorker as “elegant compositions of frosted indie pop,” and by Time Out New York as “weird and mournful yet highly rhythmic.”
Glass Ghost will be backing Robert Stillman in addition to performing a set of their own.