El Tryptophan - 'Guilt Vacation' (album stream) (premiere)

by Adrien Begrand

19 November 2015

Gryphon Rue's eccentric new album is indie pop at its most imaginative.
 

Helmed by singer-songwriter Gryphon Rue, El Tryptophan’s quirky new indie folk album Guilt Vacation features among its 20 guest contributors Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500, Luna, Dean & Britta), Will Epstein (High Water, Nicolas Jaar, Dave Harrington), and Odetta Bess Hartman. Needless to say it’s an eclectic collection, combining abstract orchestral pop and straight-up indie pop, conjuring visions of the Magnetic Fields at times.
  
Guilt Vacation could be a short film,” Rue says. “The song sequence is like a camera roving through chambers of a house, capturing quiet entrances, explosive exits, identity reversals and feedback loops. Production-wise I treat each song as its own beast and later discover how it fits into the overall fabric. Twenty musicians play on the album. Several songs were recorded with a band at Kutch1 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, but for the most part it was written and recorded in a dusty townhouse during non-construction hours and a former icehouse in Connecticut. I love the rough and ready quality of the children’s choir on “Google Portrait” with Dean Wareham’s rapturous guitar lines. Guilt Vacation was made during a period when I became determined to examine certain patterns in my life, after the deaths of loved ones, the crisis of graduating college, and coming to grips with loneliness. The album was made in a very solitary space, even though many musicians contributed. I relate every decision in songwriting and mixing to sculpture; busts, blocks, chopping, plastering. Edgard Varèse defined his music as organized sound, and Zappa said that music is sculpture for your ears to look at. Logos by Atlas Sound and Imperial Bedroom by Elvis Costello showed other sides of the crystal globe. I intend to prove that rock is still an elastic art form and I hope Guilt Vacation is a testament to the powers of imagination and experimentation.”

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