Published Jun 05, 2013tUnE-yArDs mastermind Merrill Garbus has unveiled plans for a new album in a recent essay for the Talkhouse. The new record is tentatively titled Sink-o and was inspired by Garbus' recent experiences in Haiti.
Speaking about the album's title, she writes: "Right now it's called Sink-o, but who knows if that will remain. It came from my obsession with the word 'syncopation,' which is a miserable sink-o of a word. Syncopation derives its definition from what it is not: rhythmically speaking, it's not what you 'expect' to happen; it's a 'deviation' from the 'norm.' The word assumes that you are situated in a western music tradition."
Striving to situate herself in a non-western musical tradition, Garbus took a trip to Haiti where she experienced the Rara festival of dance, as well as partaking in "folkloric and contemporary" dance lessons.
Back home, she also studied drumming with Haitian-born instructor Daniel Brevil, learning the Yanvalu rhythm.
"I found I had no idea where the downbeat was, the 'one' count," she writes. "I was sweating, I wanted to stop playing and start explaining why it wasn't my fault that I was lost and confused. Eventually, I all but gave up, and when I stopped trying so hard, and I started listening to the entirety of the piece created by the three drums. I was able to sink-o into a 'groove.'"
Garbus describes her current work as "a wild mess." She says, "I'm trying anything and everything rhythmic, and sometimes it sounds like an out-of-control beast I cannot begin to tame. But the rule is: don't try to get it right, just be in the middle of it."
While no firm details have been confirmed for the release of Sink-o, it certainly sounds like it's shaping up to be an interesting listen. The new album will be the follow-up to 2011's acclaimed whokill.
Read Garbus' full essay over here and stay tuned for further details.