(Photo credit: Owen Ela)
Alternative rock band The National have announced a release date for their boxed set, A Lot of Sorrow, that stems from the band’s collaboration with Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartannson.
In May 2013, Kjartannson invited The National to join him and play their lamenting song, “Sorrow,” over and over again on a loop, for some six hours. Realistically, “Sorrow” only lasts three-minutes and 25 seconds. And, while playing the same song for six hours may sound a little absurd, or excessive, Kjartannson had a deeper motivation, as he used the repetitive performance to explore collective experience and emotion. Their collaboration of art and music was presented as a part of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) PS1’s Sunday Sessions.
The mission of the Sunday Session’s is to “embrace live arts as an integral aspect of contemporary practice and ask how art forms, which unfold in the here and now, produce specific ways of thinking and useful means to engage with the broader world,” according to their website. So, Kjartannson and The National were a perfect match for the weekly program.
This performance has become legendary for the endurance The National showed, and on June 22, 2015, an audio recording will be released by 4AD as a limited edition vinyl boxed set with only 1,500 copies produced.
The boxed set, A Lot Of Sorrow, features nine albums that have been printed on clear vinyl. And, the records are packaged in clear sleeves, which are held in a translucent, screen-printed box. A Lot Of Sorrow is available for pre-order, and comes at a cost of $150 (USD). All of the profits from this boxed set will be donated to the charitable organization Partners in Health, which is an organization that is dedicated to improving the health of impoverished people around the world. Click here to pre-order, now. And, check out the packaging, below.
Kjartannson is a performance artist, who lives and works, in Reykjavík, Iceland. In 2011, Song, his first solo American museum show, was organized by the Carnegie Museum of Art. The exhibition went on to travel to the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami, and Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art. Other recent solo shows of his art have been held at New York’s New Museum, the Guggenheim Bilbao, the Migros Museum fur Gegenwartskunst in Zurich, and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, Italy. And, according to a press release, Kjartannson will have a survey exhibition at Paris’s Palais de Tokyo in October 2015.
And, The National, are not far from our minds as they have been extremely active in recent weeks. First, the band teamed up with members of Menomena to form the super-group Pfarmers, and release a new song, “The Ol’ River Gang.” Then, the alternative rockers unearthed and released “Sunshine On My Back”, a previously unreleased song from their Trouble Will Find Me sessions that features New York singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten. And, looking ahead, The National will be performing this July at the inaugural Eaux Claires Music Festival.