Former Sonic Youth guitarist/vocalist Lee Ranaldo has announced a collaborative album with Spanish musician/producer Raül Refree, who also worked on Lee’s last few solo albums (and produced Rosalía’s 2017 debut album Los ángeles). The album’s called Names of North End Women, and it comes out February 21 via Mute.
Lee and Raül initially went into the studio together to work on a new Lee Ranaldo solo album, but they quickly realized things were going in a more collaborative direction. Lee calls the album “the beginning of a new partnership, a new configuration.” It’s also a much different type of album for Lee, who rose to fame primarily as a guitarist, as it features hardly any guitar. Instead, the duo made the album with marimba and vibraphone, samplers, a vintage 2-inch Studer tape recorder and “a modified cassette machine Ranaldo had previously used in performances 25 years earlier.”
“We were mixing in all these strange analog sounds from old cassette tapes, dealing with tape hiss; using very new technology and very old technology and mixing them together,” Lee says. And Raül adds, “This record began as playing with samplers and cassette players, as experimental music, musique concrete, poly-rhythms.”
The first taste of the album is the nearly-seven minute title track, which pulls sounds from all over the world and is clearly not your average Lee Ranaldo song. It comes with a video that “takes the form of a free edit of Austrian avant-garde filmmaker Peter Tscherkassky’s 1999 film Outer Space – itself an appropriation of The Entity (1982, Sidney J. Furie),” and there’s a warning that the video contains strobe light effects. Watch/listen below.