San Francisco trailblazer set for Leeds date

Workaholic San Francisco-based songwriter Bill Baird has announced details of not one, but two albums and is hitting the road with a gig in Leeds next week.

Thursday, 23rd March 2017, 8:30 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:57 am
Bill Baird, gig in Leeds.
Bill Baird, gig in Leeds.

Baby Blue Abyss and Easy Machines are both out on Talkshow Records on Friday, April 28.

Very much ‘companion pieces’, each album was written and recorded with a certain time of day in mind – Easy Machines being a ‘morning’ record and Baby Blue Abyss an ‘evening’ album.

Talking about the albums, Bill said: “At the risk of cognitive dissonance, I try to approach music from several angles at once. Heartfelt, ironic, humorous, deadly serious.  

“It’s like the music I have inside me is this weird shape-shifting blob. Turn it over in my hands and look at it from a different angle and new things pop up.  

“Even though the records sound and feel pretty different, to me they are two different expressions of the same thing. Simply, just reflecting the world as I see it, in all its absurdity, joy, sadness, complexity, profundity, and inane dull madness.  

“The two records approach this in fundamentally different ways. ‘Easy Machines’ is an ‘internal’ record - explores this through the inner working of my mind. Finding my place where I can be comfortable with myself.  

“Baby Blue Abyss is an ‘external’ record. Searching for my place in this crazy world. Sifting through the commercialism, bourgeois mediocrity, conformity in all shapes and sizes (even among the rebels), the madness of war and the inanity of office drudgery. All punctuated and subsumed by one of life’s simple joys: loud rock ‘n’ roll.”

The first track to be lifted from the album, ‘You’re Someone Else’, was recently launched and more recently a self-made video for ‘Nature Dot Com’ was unveiled.

Very much a singular artist and hugely prolific, the last year has seen Bill release four albums - ‘Earth Into Aether’, released in April of last year, was a freewheeling two-disc, 19-track work which drew comparisons in both spirit and sound and style, with Devendra Banhart, Beck, Bright Eyes, Sufjan Stevens, Anton Newcombe and John Grant while ‘Summer Is Gone’ was a project of epic scale released in October. An online ‘album’ of almost infinite variation which at its core consisted of 250 unique mixes of the 10 tracks that span the record which Bill spent countless hours to produce. These mixes were then reassembled into unique sequences every hour to create an album on which the first iteration will not repeat itself before 1.3 Billion years (give or take a couple of million).

Baird grew up in San Antonio before ending up in the Bay Area of San Francisco (via Austin, Texas) where he relocated to study experimental music at the famed Mills College, whose alumni include Laurie Anderson, Joanna Newsome, Steve Reich and Terry Riley, and where he was an award-winning scholar.

A restless polymath, he also taught at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, invented a new musical instrument, the magnetetractys and collaborated on the film Origin Of Sound, shot in India over five weeks which explores his love of the Hindustani drone music of north India. 

His talents additionally encompass song writing, storytelling, poetry, his own public access TV show, letterpress printing, sound installation, teaching, journalism and academic study.

Bill is back in the UK for a short run of dates, which include a gig at Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club next Monday (March 27).

Watch the video to ‘Nature Dot Com’ here: