Cold Specks announce a new album, Neuroplasticity, out on Mute on August 26th, 2014.
Recorded at Montreal’s Hotel2Tango and Toronto’s Revolution Recordings studios, the album was produced by Jim Anderson and mixed by Anderson and Ben Hillier (Blur, Depeche Mode). Neuroplasticity is the follow-up to the debut, I Predict a Graceful Expulsion, and will be available on CD, vinyl and digitally.
Cold Specks, has returned, two years and a world map of tours after 2012’s I Predict a Graceful Expulsion. The 26 year-old Canadian singer, under the sobriquet Al Spx, began work on Neuroplasticity while holed-up in a cottage in Wick, Somerset UK during the winter of 2012. “In retrospect, I probably didn’t choose the most ideal season to live there,” she deadpans. “The record was mapped out in the cottage. I was there for about three months,” she says, “’A Formal Invitation’, ‘Old Knives’ and ‘Absisto’ were essentially written there. They are the more unusual songs on the record. I may have been reflecting on my surroundings. Have you ever been to Glastonbury? It’s a pretty fucked up place.”
The time on either side was as new and exciting as it was cruel and exhausting. Presently she was back on the road again in the UK, Europe, the US and Canada. “I relentlessly toured for the first time. Travelling constantly was an odd adjustment at first. I’d always imagined road-trips to be exciting and generally fun. I found it all to be physically and mentally draining. Between tours I was mostly attempting to re-socialize myself.”
When Cold Specks wasn’t writing or touring, she was pinballing between asks from an enviable roll call of collaborators and award panels. Shortlisted for the Juno Award and Polaris Prize, Spx also worked on Moby’s latest album, Innocents, and was invited to play with Joni Mitchell at the singer’s 70th birthday last year, alongside the likes of Herbie Hancock. She contributed to Ambrose Akinmusire’s new record for Blue Note and the latest Swans album ‘To Be Kind’. These last two partnerships have left a significant impression on ‘Neuroplasticity’. Swans founder Michael Gira appears midway through on ‘Exit Plan,’ and Akinmusire joins him on the closer ‘A Season of Doubt’ as well as permeating most of the record with trumpet lines of frailty.
“Absisto,” is the Latin verb for withdraw or depart, and “neuroplasticity” is the process by which it is thought human brains learn. The album dwells upon just this sense of the dark and unknown. It is bleaker than before perhaps but the wintry feel of Cold Specks material, self-described last time as ‘doom soul,’ has the quiet power of seeds cracking through ice.
Cold Specks have confirmed an intimate fan show at The Lexington, London next month, which will be followed by an appearance at End of the Road Festival and a string of Canadian, UK and European dates (full details below).
5/20: Hamilton, ON – Casbah Lounge
5/23: Toronto, ON – Massey Hall
6/11: London, UK – The Lexington
6/13: Bergen, Norway – Bergenfest
6/15: Aarhus, Denmark – Northside Festival
6/21: Kingston, ON – Skeleton Park Music Festival
6/28: Ottawa, ON – Ottawa Jazz Festival
7/19: London, ON – Home County Music Festival
8/29-8/31: Dorset, UK – End of the Road Festival
9/18: Copenhagen, Denmark – Vega
9/19: Hamburg, Germany – Reeperbahn
9/20: Brussels, Belgium – AB Club
9/22: Holland, Amsterdam – MC Theatre
9/23: Paris. France – Fleche D’or
9/25: Portsmouth, UK – Wedgewood Room
9/28: Bristol, UK – Colston Hall 2 The Lantern
9/29: Brighton, UK – Green Door Store
10/1: Manchester, UK – Band on the Wall