Gruff Rhys releases his new album Seeking New Gods, out now on Rough Trade / Remote Control Records. His seventh solo album, Seeking New Gods was recorded following a 2019 US tour with his band and mixed in LA with superstar producer Mario C (Beastie Boys), with beautiful art direction is by long-time Gruff collaborator Mark James.
Gruff has a long history of pushing the boundaries of how music can be listened to, and has been working with BBC Research & Development on a special immersive version of his new album Seeking New Gods. From this Friday, May 21, fans will be able to go to the BBC Taster website and experience this special, immersive version of the new album using devices with an internet connection, like laptops, tablets, and smartphones, which will be connected together to create a kind of homemade surround sound system. Listening requires at least two devices, but it’s best with four or more, and in theory hundreds could connect to create the listening experience. Overnight BBC’s 6 Music played an exclusive binaural version of the new single, ‘Mausoleum of My Former Self’, mixed by BBC R&D – which will sound like it’s in surround sound if listened to via headphones, and will give a taste of the full multi-device experience that goes live on Friday. On May 20, BBC 6 Music will host a listening party at 5AM AEST on BBC Taster, where fans can hear the full spatial version of the album before it comes out on Friday, accessible at bbc.co.uk/taster.
Seeking New Gods is set to be the most critically and commercially successful solo record of Gruff’s 25 year career, with a limited edition pressing of the album selling out within hours of announce. The record started s a biography of Mount Paektu, an active East Asian volcano. However, as Gruff wrote, he began to reflect on the inhuman timescale of the peak’s existence and the intimate features that have allowed mythologies to be built around it over centuries. Both the mountain and the songs became more and more personal to him as time went on.
Gruff explains, “The album is about people and the civilizations, and the spaces people inhabit over periods of time. How people come and go but the geology sticks around and changes more slowly. I think it’s about memory and time. It’s still a biography of a mountain, but now it’s a Mount Paektu of the mind. You won’t learn much about the real mountain from listening to this record but you will feel something, hopefully.”