Photo Credit: Gaya Feldheim Schorr
“Seasons change and I’ve tried hard just to soften you,” Samuel Herring sings at the outset of Future Islands’ breakthrough single. For Brooklyn musician Gabriel Zucker, that sentiment hit close to home as evidenced by his current triptych, Other Ways To Be Apart. Today brings us Volume 2 in the cycle which is the Spring following Volume 1’s desolate Winter as Zucker details;
“Vol. 2 is my representation of spring, which is maybe a little misleading, both because none of these songs were really written in springtime, and because my interpretation of spring is probably a bit idiosyncratic. I love the starkness and clarity of winter and its sense of heightened activity; after winter, spring is a sign the musical year is ending, the summer is coming to make things hazy and relentless again. Spring, counter intuitively, has a sense of things beginning to end, or finally ending, which is common to the three songs on this EP.”
Throughout Vol. 2, Underorder sonically imbues the sense of turning thoughts over and over in one’s mind with wild, acid-jazz inspired approaches to rhythms. As Zucker continues to look inward, twists and turns illuminate wondrously with Zucker’s ability and desire to circumvent and subvert genre norms.
“As I’ve worked and reworked these songs over the two years since we recorded, I’ve grown increasingly fond of this triptych for the way it showcases the band’s impulsive creativity. Compared to the rest of the record, these songs are rather simple and under-composed, and much of the arrangement was improvised in the studio. This is true for June Song, which is a strophic marathon of ten verses with only the vaguest predetermined notes for how each verse is to be approached; and it is especially true for Incandescent Fall, which, when we recorded it, was only the first or second time anyone else in the band had ever seen the music. On both of these songs, I layered in synths and samples afterwards to heighten the choices the band had made; but the choices themselves happened organically at the time, and I think that vitality is audible, especially in Dan and Marty’s lilting counterpoint in Incandescent Fall, and in Connor’s explosive soundscapes in June Song.
I compiled the rather epic June Song over a couple months, but both Incandescent Fall and Never Quite There are songs I wrote in one sitting. Incandescent Fall I wrote in October 2012, on the porch of the house I lived at the time, in Boston. I wrote Never Quite There on New Years Day 2015, sitting at the head of the dining room table at my parents’ house, where I was staying for a few days; I decided not to get up until I’d finished something, and what came out was ultimately this stream of consciousness of a few loosely related thoughts. I remember when I first shared it with the band there was a palpable sense that there was something very outlandish about this lack of resolution, how it doesn’t tie anything up into any kind of bow. But it feels appropriate for New Years Day, to me, a day that we’re asked to put some sort of punctuation and structure on our lives, but inevitably it just bleeds on from the year before, no obvious turning point in sight.”
Other Ways To Be Apart, Volume 2 is available in full below and please consider clicking through to Bandcamp to support the artist.