Chicago based solo artist Azita recently released her new album Glen Echo – it’s her first LP in eight years and it was well worth the wait. Playing every instrument on the record gave her the opportunity to explore every tangent, turning back from dead ends and delving further into the undergrowth when the opportunity to forge new trails opened up, resulting in a record that is consistent in its idiosyncratic refusal to stick to the marked footpaths.
We asked Azita to be our off-road guide and take us through the record track by track.
It always seemed like wonderful things had been there, things you can’t remember now.
I never knew it as more than the feeling that something has been beyond my wildest imagination.
I met an older man who’d ridden the roller coaster and remembered the rides. Now homeless, living out of a car, house lost in the foreclosure… crisis? What to call that? Something like an event, a storm, like Katrina, but totally planned. Grift. Plunder. On disability, talking about relying on “Him”, points skyward. Hope of the past/reality of the present. Collapse. A lot of these things were taken away because of racism. How America Shot Itself in the Foot. Closing pools, pleasure gardens. “If we have to share, we don’t want it at all.”
How to escape – you’re not even in a place?
How to erase your online life, the impossibility of doing that, now that it’s where your mind is, where your consciousness is.
There’s a quote at the end, I think it was from a Zadie Smith interview I read online, something about “the internet will eat your day before breakfast”, but I haven’t been able to find it again. (Turns out the internet isn’t forever?)
Two Brutal Moving Parts
A writing experiment: How to describe the feeling of periphery
Things to do with: speed, strength, failure, error, will, location, movement, relative position (centrality vs circumference), rotation
Nothing implying time, duration, such as erosion
If U Die
Just a fun time, I like to have one song per record that’s almost a “novelty number”.
It’s about the groove, the activity and physicality of the musical parts. I knew early on that I wanted to make a video with it, using the images of the arrow and the road and the football.
Shooting Birds Out of the Sky
The first one I wrote after the 2016 election.
The idea was how to come to terms with everything being so malevolent, to an almost absurd extent. End-times vibe.
Abrasion, anxiety. And anxiety as energy or unwanted energy even.
Exalting a failed thing, at once clumsy and full of hope. Dream sense. Image of a radar that rounds the hemisphere, sweeps over North America, hills and valleys where we drove in Maryland, dark roads going downhill. I had a whole page of words connoting green but reading over it now, I didn’t use any. I hope someone listening to it will tell me they imagined it as green anyway, somehow.
A chronicle of strategies of avoidance. Reminders of things to don’t do.
Glen Echo is out now on Drag City.
Introduction by Paul Maps
Photograph by Thomas Comerford