“New York multi-instrumentalist Robbie Lee does wonderful things with soulful, longing lyrics and traditional pop melodies. … An artist with whom you’d love to sit down and have a cup of coffee.” –Signal To Noise
“… an ace songwriter who can synthesize elements from a world of music without sounding like pastiche.” –Time Out New York
Say It’s Right Now
Rain Steam and Speed*
Under The Arc-Light*
The Seals Are Sailing
After The Deluge
Chytrid, My Chytrid*
Bears Making Bear Trees
* – Key tracks
(CD / DL includes “Fludd’s Folly”)
Turn on Dust Clouds May Exist, the debut album by Creature Automatic, and hear something familiar and something completely new. This is pop music that makes pop music strange again.
Creature Automatic, the recording project of Brooklyn composer, improviser, and producer Robbie Lee, weaves together unlikely influences into an adventurous set of fourteen surprising songs. At its core, Dust Clouds May Exist is classic songwriting: flawlessly crafted, featuring catchy hooks and memorable riffs, exuberant and melancholy. But it’s also an experimental opus, with Lee playing some of the fabulously unusual instruments he’s become known for: mellotrons, crumhorns, and portatif organ alongside the usual guitars, drums, and piano.
“This record was made over a period of several years,” Lee explains, “as I was learning how to use the studio not just functionally, but as an instrument itself. I’m inspired by the way things were done back in pop’s golden era, that special organic feeling of music, and am trying to bring that spirit back to right now. Following that trail was completely liberating, as I discovered my best music coming out of mistakes and chance ideas.”
While the Dust Clouds May Exist lead cut “Say It’s Right Now” could be a long-lost Pete Townshend demo from an album that never was, the record soon heads into a darker, mysterious place. The brooding piano of “Rain Steam and Speed,” and the haunted atmosphere summoned by the imaginary travelogue “Antikythera,” are complemented by tracks such as “Fludd’s Folly,” a long-form ambitious instrumental combining bell-like guitars with the buzzy, otherworldly Renaissance crumhorn. Like the more pure pop songs on the album, it follows a rambling shambolic path, always anchored in backwards sweet harmony. Creature Automatic is a quirky grand vision of what pop music could be, in the tradition of Pet Sounds and Tusk, but very much of our time, and tomorrow’s.
Dust Clouds May Exist will be officially released on April 7, 2015 on Telegraph Harp, the artist-run collective in which Robbie Lee is also a driving force. Their previous releases are People, 3xa Woman and Kahoots, Take To The Fields. 2015 will also see releases from The Taxidermists, as well as a first issue in a series of lost albums by Chicago noise-pop pioneers Mouse.
In addition to Creature Automatic, Robbie Lee has played on over 20 album releases, including The Howling Hex, Cass McCombs, Eleanor Friedberger, Baby Dee, and Dax Riggs. After releasing his first album of lo-fi bedroom songs (Sleep, Memory) under his own name in 2006, Lee spent most of his time with non-stop touring and recording. He has more recently had close collaborations with Mary Halvorson, Brian Chase (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Che Chen and Jozef Van Wissem.
WEBSITE LINK: creatureautomatic.com
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Robbie Lee discography: http://www.robbielee.com/discography/