Matthew E. White and Lonnie Holley, two soul singer/songwriters who have previously had remarkably different styles, will be releasing a five-song collaboration on April 9 via Spacebomb/Jagjaguwar. They just shared a new track off it “I’m Not Tripping/Composition 8,” following their lead single “This Here Jungle of Moderness/Composition 14.”
All of the compositions on the album began as a series of improvisations guided by White in 2018, featuring Devonne Harris and Daniel Clarke on keyboards, Giustino Riccio, Brian Jones and Pinson Chanselle on percussion, Alan Parker on guitars/sequencer and Cameron Ralston on bass. White and producer Adrian Olsen held onto the results until they could find the right vocalist to tackle the complex instrumentals. When White and the other musicians from the improvisations ended up backing Holley for an unrehearsed concert appearance in 2019, they quickly realized that he was their guy for the album.
“I’m Not Tripping/Composition 8” is a synthesizer/sequencer-heavy piece with an off-kilter rhythm looping throughout. Holley’s improvisational vocals completely transform the tune as he rambles about finding self-worth in a technological age, “Digitally, digitally, digitally/I’m gonna be the best that I can be/Oh, In my time/I’m not tripping/Gotta let it go.”
Holley’s contributions came together largely spontaneously, according to the press release, “White sat with Holley and played bits of two-dozen edits from those year-old recordings. Holley listened to 20 seconds and either passed or proclaimed the images that the sounds conjured. When he liked something, he’d consult a notebook overflowing with lyrical conceits, then sing complete first takes to music he’d never heard. White sat gobsmacked, transfixed by Holley’s ability to anticipate modulations and movements within these totally new productions. For four hours, Holley sang of trips into space and troubles with social media, of the need to reconnect with our basic humanity and to disconnect from the baseness of it. Minus modest edits and slight overdubs, Broken Mirror, A Selfie Reflection was finished on the spot, a lightning strike looking for a place to land.”
Although Holley is 32 years older than White, Broken Mirror, A Selfie Reflection will be the fourth studio album for both musicians. White’s last record was a chill indie-pop project called Gentlewoman, Ruby Man made in collaboration with folk singer/songwriter Flo Morrissey. Holley’s last record was a sprawling, psychedelic soul project called MITH with politically-charged lyrics.
Broken Mirror, A Selfie Reflection Tracklist:
1. This Here Jungle of Moderness/Composition 14
2. Broken Mirror (A Selfie Reflection)/Composition 9
3. I Cried Space Dust/Composition 12
4. I’m Not Tripping/Composition 8
5. Get Up! Come Walk with Me/Composition 7