White Hinterland

Freedom often begins from terror, and White Hinterland's third album, Baby, addresses the fear that comes along with breaking out of established rituals, or leaving a comfortable place, and striking out into the unknown. Four years after her profile-raising release, Kairos (2010), Casey Dienel aka White Hinterland has taken the gloves off and knuckled down to produce a deep, dark, heady mix of songs. After two and a half years of writing and recording material in Montreal and Portland, OR, Dienel moved back in to her family home in Scituate, MA. There she forged a new aesthetic, spending five months building her own studio, The Glades, in her parents' basement - the same space where she practiced piano and vocal lessons as a child. Determined to helm her new album, Dienel spent months studying production, poring over YouTube tutorials about Protools, mic'ing techniques and other minutiae. Armed with this self-taught skill and her new studio, Dienel set forth to subvert the existing power structure of male producer as svengali and female artist as figurehead (see: Billy Corgan/Courtney Love, Timbaland/Aaliyah, Phil Spector/The Ronettes). She created her own, new path on Baby, which showcases her as a singer/songwriter/producer who has only become bolder and more resolute over the past three-plus years. Calling in her friends as pinch hitters, Dienel worked acclaimed musicians Sean Carey (Bon Iver, S. Carey), Neal Morgan (Joanna Newsom, Bill Callahan), and Cole Kamen-Green (Beyonc). On her first four records, Dienel projected her fears and fantasies onto imaginary characters, role play, and lush atmospherics. If Kairos was a work of atmosphere, a forty-minute-long reverie without any narrative, then Baby sits at the opposite end of that spectrum. Baby is about song craft. It is forceful, rooted in the physicality of the voice, percussion and piano, and it is about getting straight to the point, which Dienel does on the very first song. Lead-off track "Wait Until Dark" begins a capella, just Dienel's voice in a reverberant room. That voice is capable of carrying a significant melodic and emotional load, and on Baby's title track it swoops dramatically from an edge-of-cliff howl to her crystalline upper-range, then back down to a soulful growl. By the end of the song, sounding exhausted but ready to push forward, Dienel again drops away the arrangement, leaving just her voice, stripped bare and pushed to the very edges of its significant range, "Say I'll take a sip, but I can't leave a drop," she repeats over and over: "Is this my weakness?" These audacious choices were intentional, she says, "As producer I made the call to scale back the reverb, saw off the synths and seat my voice front and center for the first time. It was not accidental." The themes explored on Baby are universal but it is Dienel's singular reaction to what life has thrown in front of her that makes the record unique. "I would say the themes of this record to me are personal agency, strength, growth, determination," she posits. "And to get those things is usually fucking terrifying and comes with casualties and loss." Call it Millennial Anxiety, if you like. "White Noise" erupts over alcoholism and abandonment while "Wait Until Dark" and "Sickle No Sword" are paeans to violence and breaches of security. On the unsparing "Dry Mind" mention is made of "No Plan B, no B.A., No Exit." "Live WIth U" and "Baby" take aim at both the narrator and object of desire. "David" describes the dangerous lotus-eater effect of nostalgia, both a eulogy to the past and a celebration of life even at its most brutal. "No Devotion" asks the question of nature vs. nurture. Do we inherit these behaviors or are they learned over the time? And can we unlearn them? Baby's production is marked by extremes, and it continually returns to the piano, Dienel's first love. Where her earlier work occasionally showcased a strong Joni Mitchell influence, on new songs like "David" she finds herself in Fiona Apple territory. "Whatever you say, don't say we we're lucky. Whatever you do, don't call it chance," she croons with a mixture of regret and relief. "That's like saying it was an accident when I was running at you with my sharpest knife." Her lifelong love of R&B and gospel also comes to the fore, these resonant styles complement and contrast the sharp dynamic shifts, booming drums, and blasts of brass. Consider "Ring the Bell": her confident vocals buoy the song as it grows larger and more forthright, winding itself up into a maelstrom that feels like the seasick experience of falling head over heels in love. On "Metronome," Baby's centerpiece and most assertive track, she declares, "All day long I'm a boss." She's not asking for someone to serve as a steadying influence, but instead requiring that it's necessary to keep up with her. Dienel's Baby is both the pop clich of "Oooh, Baby Baby" and Dienel telling herself to stop being such a baby. It is a word of both endearment and dismissal, repurposed to serve her needs. It's a cathartic embrace of hardship, the crucible which can forge the strongest steel. It is the past three years of her life distilled into song: joy, heartbreak, frustration, longing, disappointment, anger, and loss accumulated, poured out and reborn in this new, unflinching release.

Shawn Creeden of White Hinterland Drops a Quick & Easy Best of 2010

whitehinterlandaqua3

BIG NUMBER No. 1: THE-DREAM – LOVE KING

Tie for No. 2: High Places – High Places vs. Mankind // The Books – The Way Out

Big Boi – Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
Lib B – Blue Flame; Red Flame; Evil Red Flame; Rain in England
Wold – Working Together For Our Privacy
U.S. Girls – Go Grey
Gucci Mane – Jewelry Selection
e-40 – Revenue Retrievin’ (Night Shift)
Peaking Lights – Space Primitive
Salem – King Night
Balam Acab – See Birds EP
Sleigh Bells –
Treats
Zola Jesus – Stridulum; Stridulum II

White Hinterland Eidolon Digital EP Available Now On Bandcamp, Tour Kicks Off Sunday!

COVER3v3

Eidolon is an Ancient Greek term that means “human shadow,” or spiritual double, of a living being. Fitting, then, that White Hinterland’s Eidolon EP serve as a companion piece to Kairos, the stunning full-length released in March from this Portland group.

Collected and curated over the course of 2010, the songs found on Eidolon reflect the very spirit of White Hinterland in that there is never a single definitive version of a song. They are written to be flexible and stretch in all directions. It’s a gorgeous marriage of post-dupstep, airy art-pop and chilled, personal R&B.



Eidolon tracklist and White Hinterland tour dates, after ze jump!

Fey 7″ feat. White Hinterland Now Available

Orchestre Ste Trinite

Photos courtesy Paul Kramer/Belson Productions

We told you a while ago about the pre-order for the Common Cloud Records limited Fey 7″ Series featuring White Hinterland, It includes “Golden Child”- their breezy, Carribeanesque jammer and collaboration with Alexis Gideon. You can’t find this track anywhere else!

All of the proceeds go to music education in Haiti- specifically, the Holy Trinity School of Music in Port Au Prince. We were sent some fantastic photos of the school- which you can see above and below.

HornsMini OrchestrePaul teaching

You can still buy a copy of the 7″ during any of White Hinterland’s December tour dates!

12/05/10- Bloomington, IN- The Bishop
12/07/10- Chicago, IL- The Empty Bottle
12/08/10- Minneapolis, MN- First Avenue

W/ S. Carey

12/10/10 Iowa City, IA- The Mill
12/11/10 Cincinnati, OH – Mayday
12/13/10 New York, NY – Highline Ballroom
12/14/10 Washington, DC – Rock and Roll Hotel
12/15/10 Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Chapel
12/16/10 Boston, MA – Paramount Center Black Box
12/17/10 Portland, ME – The Space
12/18/10 Montreal QC – Casa del Popolo
12/19/10 Toronto ON – Horseshoe Tavern
12/21/10 Pontiac, MI – Pike Room

White Hinterland + Project Runway = Portland Love

Like Young Jeezy, Project Runway winner Gretchen Jones puts on for her city. On Thursday’s Season 8 finale, the Portland native- who is a big White Hinterland fan and friend of Casey Dienel – used “Icarus” as the soundtrack to her winning collection.

I talked to Casey a bit about this earlier today, and it was really great to hear what a collaborative effort this all was and how much thought and care was put into it. She writes:

We share a similar sensibility. I really like feminine, diaphanous music, and she designs feminine, diaphanous clothing. It’s been really crazy and cool to see her hard work rewarded–she’s an amazing designer, and I actually own and frequently wear some of her designs. She was adamant about backing up her friends in town who do amazing things (her friend Sara helped produce the jewelry, I did music) to showcase all of the creative work coming out of our fair city.

pr8-ep14-gretch5photo via mylifetime.com

When it came time to do the Project Runway thing, we had to keep it totally underwraps. I had no idea if she was going to be a finalist, let alone win. I was given a slight peek into her inspiration for the line and it’s name, Running Through Thunder, which allowed Shawn & I to make a custom remix incorporating elements of the collection.

The introductory video for Jones’ site also features “Icarus” and an ethereal, whimsical aesthetic much like that of Kairos.

DOC034

Catch White Hinterland on tour this December with S. Carey! Full schedule after the jump.

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Booking Agent Contact

NORTH AMERICA
Zachary Cepin
High Road Touring
zachary@highroadtouring.com
415-332-9292

Wilson Zheng
High Road Touring
wilson@highroadtouring.com
415.332.9292

UK/EU:
Earth Agency
Claire Courtney
clairecourtney@earth-agency.com

tour dates

There are no shows at this time.

See all upcoming shows »

free downloads

Ring the Bell by White Hinterland
No Logic by White Hinterland
Icarus by White Hinterland
Chant de Grillon by White Hinterland

video

No Devotion
by White Hinterland
Baby
by White Hinterland
Ring The Bell
by White Hinterland
Amsterdam
by White Hinterland
No Logic
by White Hinterland

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