Nat Baldwin, Pillars & Tongues | Constellation | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Nat Baldwin, Pillars & Tongues Recommended 18+ Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Image

When: Thu., May 29, 9:30 p.m. 2014

On his latest solo album, In the Hollows (Western Vinyl), Dirty Projectors bassist Nat Baldwin plants both feet in the art-pop patch, surrounding his billowy, impatient melodies with precise string arrangements that draw on the talents of violist Nadia Sirota, violinist Rob Moose, and cellist Clarice Jensen, all members of young New York chamber group yMusic. Baldwin’s upright bass provides the framework of his tunes, usually with an insistent arco pulse that approximates the minimalist drive of Philip Glass’s music. The polyrhythms of drummer Otto Hauser (also of Vetiver) give the music a more varied feel, falling halfway between the bass’s steady throb and Baldwin’s quavery, liquid singing, which makes him sound a little like his Dirty Projectors bandmate David Longstreth—his voice drifts frequently into a tremulous falsetto, and he elongates certain syllables dramatically. Baldwin wrote this album’s material in 2011 as he trained for a marathon, and some of the songs reflect that focus, either through direct reference in their lyrics or through metaphors or musical techniques that evoke the solitary, rigorous mind-set of a serious runner (that unrelenting bass, for instance). The title track includes an internal monologue that represents Baldwin’s train of thought as he runs, an expression of existential ennui where covering the miles is all that seems to matter; the closer, “A Good Day to Die,” celebrates the emptied-out mental and physical exhaustion at the end of a race. Baldwin performs solo. —Peter Margasak

Price: $10

Add a review


Select a star to rate.