Selina Martin’s latest album, i’ve been picking caruso’s brain; i think i have the information we need to make a new world (or …caruso’s brain… for short), finds the Toronto artist pushing her always-adventurous musical ideas into exhilarating new territory. The album was first released in Europe in late 2015 to ecstatic reviews that made comparisons to Bjork, CocoRosie, PJ Harvey and Talking Heads. NBT Music Radio in Koln, Germany named it Album of the Year and Starship Overflow Radio in the U.K. called it, “Brilliant… Superb in every sense of the word.”
Filled with raw energy and emotion, …caruso’s brain… strikes a perfect balance between sparseness and fullness, acoustics and electronics, and between control and abandonment. “I call it Post-Pop,” Martin says. “I’m experimenting with minimalist melodies and chord structures, minimal but potent lyrics, and with making songs sound ‘broken’ in different ways. This record is the most representative of me as an artist, so far.”
Martin is now unveiling the album at home, led by the first focus track and video, “Hawaii.” It is the natural way into the album’s overall genre-defying sonic tapestry, woven over the course of two years at various studios across Canada with co-producer Chris Stringer (Timber Timbre, Ohbijou, Sunparlour Players, New Country Rehab) and multi-instrumental aid from Doug Friesen (John K Samson, Bidiniband) and Jesse Baird (Feist, Steven Page). Overall, the songs encapsulate Martin’s travels, both literal and emotional.
When asked about the track “Hawaii,” Martin explains, “I started writing it while I was there. I had a small room with my own outdoor shower in a cheap hotel on the north end of the Big Island. There were chickens running about outside, and massive mango, macadamia, and grapefruit trees in the back yard. I rented a guitar from Hawi Gallery | Art & Ukuleles, and had a ukulele jam with lovely local uke instructor and anti-U.S. military industrial complex rambler, Dennis, who passed away last summer. Rest in peace, Dennis.”
…caruso’s brain… is Selina Martin’s fourth full-length album. After establishing her reputation through working with Canadian indie heroes Martin Tielli, Dave Bidini and Bob Wiseman, along with co-producing music for Genie Award-winning documentarian Jennifer Baichwal, she remains on the cutting edge with contributions on …caruso’s brain… also coming from notable electronica/avant garde figures Joshua Van Tassel, Grapes Godly, Brodie West and Peggy Lee. Although the album touches on a wide range of themes—love, loss, addiction, redemption, forgiveness, imprisonment, liberty and loneliness—its overall aim is to be inclusive. Significantly, the first word Martin sings is “Hello” (recorded long before Adele’s hit), a welcome that introduces the primary theme of …caruso’s brain…, which is to inspire us to resist the alienation that the modern world imposes upon us.
“Ultimately it’s songwriting. I’m a songwriter,” Martin says. “There was a lot of experimentation on this album, both in terms of form and structure, and also in terms of sounds. Traditional forms of music no longer convey what it feels like to live in the world.”
Release Date: March 4, 2016
1. Your Secrets Sleep With Me
2. Living In A Window
3. Lay Down Your Arms
4. My Heart Ticks On
6. When The City Fell
8. The Addicted
10. Wish List
11. When The City Fell (Again)