Spellling’s upcoming album The Turning Wheel has been officially announced for June 25 release via Sacred Bones. It’s the highly-anticipated follow-up to 2019’s Mazy Fly, which was highly acclaimed and awarded ‘high fidelity’ by mxdwn. Alongside the announcement, Spellling shared a new single titled “Little Deer.”
The single shows Spellling’s sound evolving away from her ethereal synthpop roots and leaning much more into the more psychedelic, soulful side of her music. However, she hasn’t left behind her love for cinematic flair, and the song, as well as the whole album, is quite theatrical in design. “Little Deer” is a lush track with chamber accompaniments and progressive songwriting. The lyrics are full of folkloric imagery and the song’s meaning is only made clear by the knowledge that the song was inspired by Frida Kahlo’s Wounded Deer painting, which illustrates a deer that has been shot full of arrows and has Kahlo’s own face.
“‘Little Deer’ is definitely a thesis track,” Spellling explains. “I feel that way because it not only showcases the greatest range of instrumentation that is featured on the album, but also because it accomplishes this strong impression of theater that I was striving for with the album as a whole. I’m especially proud of the lyrics. The challenge with the lyric writing was being able to speak to really large concepts like karma, reincarnation and the cycle of life without making the song sound burdened. I wanted the lyrics to match the grandeur of the instrumentation but still be easy to sing along to. I figured out a way to build the lyrics using a lot of abstract language that is still singable but odd in a way that I hope makes it memorable.”
The theatrical sound is well-suited for the album’s concept, which Sacred Bones describes as “a cosmic wheel of fortune, floating in the deep black star-studded theater of infinite space. A whirl of timbres, personalities, and stories.” Over the course of The Turning Wheel, Spellling’s songs stretch across some grand themes, including “human unity, the future, divine love and the enigmatic ups and downs of being a part of this carnival called life.”
She self-produced the record and orchestrated the 31 musicians involved in the recording process. The album is split into two halves, with an “Above” half full of warmer, dreamy songs from the ups of life and a “Below” half full of colder, gothic tracks from the downs. Spellling had plenty of time to work on the concept and lyrics while the album was delayed due to the financial difficulties involved with creating such an ambitious album during a global pandemic. It was originally supposed to release in September 2020, but the delay gave her time to hone the lyrical content and work closely with the musicians involved during socially distanced studio sessions.
The Turning Wheel Tracklist:
1. Little Deer
3. Turning Wheel
4. The Future
6. Emperor with an Egg
7. Boys at School
9. Queen of Wands
10. Magic Act
12. Sweet Talk