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Blaudzun - _UP_ - Out Now

posted at 04/13/2018

We're more than happy to release the amazing new album by Blaudzun. Happy Release Day! _UP_ is the third chapter of Blaudzun’s Jupiter-trilogy, which the Dutch indie artist & songwriter announced in the fall of 2016. The album has become a fully realized work that owes its existence to the previous two installments. Or, in Blaudzun’s own words: “If I had to compare the Jupiter-trilogy to a painting, _UP_ would be the center piece between the two other side panels. In hindsight, I consider Jupiter Part 1 and 2 studies that helped me unravel what I wanted to make.” While _UP_ serves as the finale to the narrative, the record became a clear departure from Blaudzun’s original vision: “I discovered that I prefer my wine more ripened, not so much the first harvest.”

Long story short: Jupiter was a necessary process. After gaining both commercial success and critical acclaim for Heavy Flowers (2012) and Promises Of No Man’s Land (2014), drawing from that same wellspring wasn’t an option. Blaudzun had a strong urge to work outside the constraints of a contrived plan. He actually toyed with the idea for a trilogy for quite some time. Blaudzun: “Whatever it was that came out of me, that would be it. The only limitation I imposed on myself was doing three records. On each of them, I searched for what it should eventually become.” The songs on Jupiter Part 1 for instance, are inclined towards a single theme, almost like a dance track: sultry and rhythmic in nature. This atmosphere bled into Jupiter Part 2, which relied more on Blaudzun’s signature songwriting chops. After making both records, it became apparent he needed to take an entirely different route.

_UP_ is what sprung from this creative about-face. “I know now, what making a record quickly, and then release it straightaway, is all about”, Blaudzun reflects. “But ultimately, I believe more in taking time and allowing doubt to creep in. On _UP_ I carefully weighed every note I play, every melody I sing. I once read about this well-known Dutch author who, after finishing a book, would retreat to ruminate on every word he wrote. I adopted that same mentality on _UP_ as well. Each note was very deliberate in its execution.”

Compared to the sonorous, resplendent sensibilities of Heavy Flowers and Promises Of No Man’s Land, _UP_ is considerably more weightless in nature. There’s less gravity, less stakes. Catalysts for this shift are the recent batch of theater shows Blaudzun did, which demanded more space for tranquility. All the songs on _UP_ were written on piano to keep their essence intact, based around strong melodies and voice. A conscious decision, according to Blaudzun: “My voice is once again the focal point. Lately, I’ve been using my voice complementary to the music, but now I’m resolved to the fact that, in the end, I’m a fucking singer. In that regard, inspiration comes from artists like Adele, Beyoncé and also Nick Cave. This winter, I was cycling through the streets on a Spanish island. You could hear music blare out of the cafes… guess what the first clearly audible thing was? The vocals. That’s when I realized I had to exhume my voice again. Instead of drums or sexy bartiton horns melody is fundamental to this record, and my voice the vehicle.”

In some ways, the Jupiter saga helped Blaudzun exhume who he was as a person an artist as well. On _UP_, he embraces feelings of longing and his signature autumnal characteristics again. And of course, a touch of strings. “In reality, this is the most honest way of making music. To remain true to yourself.” The results haven’t come unnoticed. First single ‘_hey now’ became a hit on Dutch National radio and immediately made an impact worldwide, finding its way on critical Spotify playlists from, among others, Iceland, Mexico, Denmark and Argentina. Blaudzun on the reactions so far: “That’s a first for me with a track, not even with Promises Of No Man’s Land. I’m really pleased.”

To him, it’s of personal significance that ‘_hey now’ was released a year after ‘Mud’. “You can’t keep wading in the mud, you have to keep going, keep looking up. That’s why I named the album _UP_. It’s an optimistic record in very dark times. In the morning, you can either bum yourself out reading the news, or decide to move on and enjoy life. This album is brimming with life.”

Without making Jupiter Part 1 and 2, however, Blaudzun wouldn’t have known where to look. Not only is he looking up, this album represents an assured and confident reinvention of self. Everything comes together: “To me, this record brings about a definitive balance.”


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