17 February 2020
Last Friday, on Valentine’s Day, Canadian psych-pop outfit ELEPHANT STONE – formed in 2008 – launched their sixth album, titled HOLLOW. An intriguing and fascinating concept lonplayer with an overall spellbinding and spiritual resonance despite the gloomy context of the LP, making me think of George Orwell‘s brilliant dystopian novel 1984 but npw with the social media as Big Brother. Mastermind, singer/songwriter, and renowned sitarist Rishi Dhir, worked, in between creating his own work, with legend Beck and cult bands such as The Brian Jonestown Massacre and he started recently new projects the Acid House Ragas and the wonderful MIEN, with members of The Horrors and The Black Angels.
About the new Elephant Stone record Dhir said: “I’m sure I’m not alone in this sentiment. If social media has taught us anything, it’s that there are a lot of unhappy people out there who are trying to find a way out. They are looking for meaning and something to believe in… or nothing to believe in. We all want the same thing but are trying to achieve it in different ways. With this in mind, we wrote and recorded this new album. I set forth writing a song-suite telling of a world of unhappy souls who have lost connection with each other.” He also revealed that he was inspired by The Who’s rock opera ‘Tommy’, Pretty Things’ fourth album ‘S.F. Sorrow’ and the second side of The Beatles’ classic ‘Abbey Road’ LP.
As a devoted Elephant Stone myself, having seen the band playing live several times,
it’s a great pleasure to have Rishi Dhir guiding us through Hollow track by track…
Here’s Rishi‘s track by track breakdown…
1. Hollow World
“This was the trickiest song for the album as I knew it was to be the opener and I wanted to make sure it pulled the listener in. And it’s the beginning of the whole Hollow concept. I rewrote the track a few times before arriving on this version. I think having my 9-year old daughter sing on this really helped elevate the song.”
2. Darker Time, Darker Space
“I had a Pete Townshend-ish guitar riff lying around and messed around with some
weird vocals sounds with a Neu!-ish back beat. This is where things really start
going bad on earth…”
3. The Court and Jury
“This began with a sitar riff and was initially just an intro for Land of Dead. I decided to make it it’s own thing telling of the court system who decides who will leave for New Earth.”
4. Land of Dead
“Building on the same musical scale used in Court and Jury (bhairavi scale in G) I wrote
this riff on sitar as well. I injected with some Pretty Things/Sabbath stoner rock:) New earth is also dead.”
5. Keep the Light Alive
“The last of humanity arrives on new earth to find it devoid of life. The children ask the parents for guidance and support. I brought in my daughter and a couple of her friends
to sing. I love this song!”
6. We Cry for Harmonia
“The adults begin worshipping Harmonia (spaceship) as their god and saviour. They
lack skills for living in such a harsh climate. Musically, this song was an extension of
the choruses of Keep the Light Alive… I like the folky/Dylan-esque verses which then
go into an Everly Brothers-ish part and then into outer space.”
“This is the comedown/epilogue of side A. The last of humanity turn against their new god
Musically, amazing tabla performance by long time collaborator Shawn Mativetsky and my lovely wife Kirsty on backing vocals. I really like the middle 8 on these tunes.”
(Photo by Turn Up the Volume! Ghent, Belgium, 2018)
8. I See You
“This is one of the older songs writing for the album. Very proud of the middle 8 on
this one too… got this gothy vibe to it…”
9. The Clampdown
“Wrote this track on piano. Interesting fact: My piano was tune to 443hz rather than the standard 440hz. So, I had tuned all my other instruments to 443… was tedious but very rewarding in the end! Love Robbie’s guitar tones on this one.”
10. Fox on the Run
“Another older track from the album… the final version is built on a solo demo/jam I did
in my old studio in 2017. I couldn’t see how I’d be able to improve upon the demo, so just kept as is and layered tracks on top. A definite highlight of the album for me.”
11. House on Fire
My family had a fire at our house in late 2017 and then I went on tour supporting
the Dream Syndicate two days later. It was really hard on my wife and kids… this song
is pretty much me saying I’m sorry and that should’ve stayed home to help them.
12. A Way Home
An extension of the last song…. me returning home after leaving my family to fend for themselves… also ties in well with the album concept.
Thank you, Rishi for guiding us trough ‘HOLLOW’.
May the road rise with Elephant Stone!
Listen and/or buy HOLLOW right here.
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