Sunday, October 23, 2011

Feist | Metals

Suggestive, reflective, askew. An image that looks like a photograph, but is it? Just by seeing the cover of Feist's new album "Metals", you get an idea of what's inside. The funny thing is, I didn't see the "F" in the deadwood tree until now and I didn't realize that "Metals" was printed upside down. Either I wasn't paying attention as I pulled out the CD multiple times to listen to over the last few days or, and I think this is it, there's some kind of sleight of hand going on.

Leslie Feist knows how to cast a spell. And it seems even more so now, or maybe in new ways. She took a year-long break from touring and music making at the end of the last decade after going at it non-stop for seven years. "I was being still and trying to learn how to be quiet and remember silence isn't aggressive," she says.

On her return last autumn, she spent three months writing the record in a garage behind her house. In January of this year longtime collaborators Chilly Gonzales and Mocky, joined her in Toronto to arrange the record and then the three, plus percussionist Dean Stone and keyboardist Brian LeBarton, all settled in Big Sur, California to record.

The beauty and the beast of living for life and art and nature rise up through every track. Gentle, swelling vocals, group singing, sweeping synthesizers, and great guitar playing from Feist. "I feel a little more like a narrator now," she says. "Rather that saying here's my truth, I am able to say here's something I just observed to be true. Which depending on the day can be absolutely not true. There's less certainty with time, as much as you'd assume the opposite to be the case."

She found her way to the album title "Metals" as she was thinking about "quiet, raw, dormant ore versus the highly engineered result of forging that into skyscrapers." and the word "'mettle' as in a man proves his mettle by how his reaction takes him from raw act to reaction." "Metals" is a potent, primordial exploration.