Legendary guitarist and Sonic Youth co-founder Lee Ranaldo has announced a new album titled In Virus Times. Set to drop on November 22, this 22-minute piece will release on vinyl and digital. The record is available for pre-order now.
The new project showcases Ranaldo’s multifaceted artistic talents. Side A contains an instrumental acoustic piece that is divided into 4 separate parts while Side B is an etching drawn by Ranaldo himself. The cover of this upcoming album features work by Brazilian photographer Anna Paula Bogaciovas. There will be a limited transparent turquoise vinyl edition that comes with an art poster signed and numbered by Ranaldo.
According to Ranaldo, this recording originated back in September 2020 while the guitarist was stuck in his lower Manhattan home during “the dark days” of the Covid-19 pandemic. This environment influenced his mindset tremendously and inspired him to transpose these feeling into his eventual instrumental piece. “A heightened sense of anxiety stemming from the then-upcoming US Presidential elections as well as the virus seemed to pervade all aspects of life, for myself and everyone I knew. Its minimal quality reflects the sense of ‘motionless time’ that many of us felt,” said the guitarist.
Forced to record in his home, Ranaldo allowed organic sounds, such as sirens and water running, to intrude into his project. “I worked to develop a few simple thematic elements, but mostly I wanted to hear the notes and chords ringing out, hanging in the air for a long time on that evening when the world seemed close to stopping on its axis,” writes a reflective Ranaldo.
Alongside the announcement, Ranaldo released a short video that previews the sound of the new album and provides a look into the making of the beautifully crafted vinyl artwork. The snippet features an melodic acoustic guitar co-mingling with a timid and wavering whistle. The anxiety that Ranaldo mentioned in his statement is clearly present and palpable.
Ranaldo is an American musician that has been active in the rock scene since the 1980s. An incredibly skilled guitarist, the former Sonic Youth vocalist and guitarist is widely considered to be one of the greatest guitarists of all time.
Earlier this year, Ranaldo united with multi-instrumentalist Alessandro Baris for a new single “Last Letter to Jayne.” This haunting track features spoken word lyrics, soft percussion and drawn-out synth chords.
In February, Ranaldo teamed up with a handful of artists for a 20-song tribute of Allen Ginsberg’s The Fall of America: Poems of these States 1965-1971. This Bandcamp Friday collection features artists such as Yo La Tengo, Devendra Banhart, Thurston Moore and Andrew Bird.