Orchestral pop auteur Van Dyke Parks may have done some work semi-recently, including arrangements on Joanna Newsom's 2006 set, Ys, and Brian Wilson's Smile and That Lucky Old Sun, but it's been ages since the musician released any material of his own. That's all about to change though, with the announcement of a new seven-inch series.
A press release explains that the new singles series will be the first studio material written by the symphonic popster since his 1995 album, Orange Crate Art. While the .45s will feature only a couple numbers per platter, the material will surely be no less epic.
While Parks's music is a work of art in itself, each package will get a visual boost courtesy of some high-profile artists. The first single, "Dreaming in Paris"/"Wedding in Madagascar," was illustrated by celebrated Los Angeles artist Ed Rauscha, while the second, "Wall Street"/"Money Is King," was illustrated by award-winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman (Maus). Other contributors to look forward to throughout the rest of the series include Charles Ray and Frank Holmes.
Parks will be self-releasing the singles via his Bananastan imprint, which will be distributed by City Hall/Runt worldwide. Though there aren't any firm release dates, the first two singles are expected to drop sometime in August. Parks hoped to have six seven-inches out by year's end.
"This is it! I've decided to record!" Parks said on the Bananastan website. "Of course, I'm totally redundant to the record business, but I love the song form so much. It is my obsession. It meets my need and my attention span very well."
As if that weren't enough, a new collection of Parks's past work called Arrangements by Van Dyke Parks comes out September 20. It will feature pieces he's worked on by Arlo Guthrie, Ry Cooder, Bonnie Raitt and more.