‘Songs Album’ by Aaron M Olson | Debut Solo Album
Exclusive album premiere of ‘Songs Album’ by Los Angeles musician and composer Aaron M Olson, out November 9th via Moone Records.
The matter-of-factly titled ‘Songs Album’ is a more complex and ornate affair than its title belies – full of vibrant and lush hi-brow arrangements, reminiscent at times of the pop/rock outings of Jack Nitzsche or Jim O’Rourke, while recalling in glimpses the pastoral moodscapes of Robert Wyatt. As a student of composition (literally has a B.A. in classical music) and an astute listener, Olson’s approach to pop music is delicate, slow churning, and intelligently crafted, yet his results are undeniably scrappy. His intoxicating and woozy body of work leaves the listener in a haze as it hones in on often overlooked intricacies.
Aaron’s earlier years were spent as the bassist in Chris Cohen and Nedelle Torrisi’s band Cryptacize, and he has gone on to accompany the likes of Tara Jane O’Neil, Chris Cohen, Papercuts, Bart Davenport, SK Kakraba Lobi, Nedelle Torrisi, The Lentils, Nicholas Krgovich, Vetiver and many others. While ingrained in the music of so many others, his solo catalog is equally expansive and versatile. He has released a string of incredibly cinematic synth and guitar-driven music under the moniker, L.A. Takedown (Castle Face, Ribbon Music). He also co-founded and plays in the Grateful Dead cover band, Richard Pictures, and its offshoot project Mountain Brews, performs and releases experimental work with his project, The Musical Tracing Ensemble, and composes for film, television, and other visual media.
‘Songs Album’ marks Aaron M Olson’s debut as a solo artist in the medium of sung songs, and while some familiar sounds and sensibilities of his oeuvre shine through, the album delivers something wholly new and exciting.
“In March of 2020, when COVID-19 first struck hard, I got pretty sick — not sure if I had COVID or not, as testing wasn’t available yet. I was in bed for the larger part of a few weeks, sleeping and watching movies, more or less in a deep fog of confusion. At the tail end of this illness, as I was regaining clarity and strength, I had a vivid dream wherein I heard a familiar and pleasant song playing on a radio at an auto shop. Waking up, I rushed to a guitar and played and sang what I had heard. After deciding that this bit of music wasn’t exactly any music that I already knew to exist, I worked up a song around the dream nugget, and what came out was ‘No Burden’ — the dreamt chords and melody making up what would become the chorus. This isn’t to say that I’m some naturally gifted genius whose material comes to me as gifts from the ether, in fact the majority of ‘No Burden’ came about through hard work and writing around a seed of a starting point; rather the importance of this is that having this first song come together with relative ease and momentum started me off on a trajectory of prolific writing, recording, and vocalising. I wrote a handful of new songs pretty quickly and revisited some old demos with a new perspective and fervor, turning them into what would be, alongside the new songs, ‘Songs Album’.
I’m not a great singer (maybe not even a good singer), but in the flurry of creation that yielded this album I found that my singing voice was accurately conveying the moods and themes of the songs I was writing, which was very new for me! I’d previously written a few songs with lyrics and vocals for other projects like L.A. Takedown, but I’d always relied on vocoder or guest singers as my modes of vocalisation, my own voice never seeming to carry the songs fittingly. For these new songs I allowed my natural SoCal vocal fry to come to the fore and let go of certain preconceived notions about pitch and delivery, turning to some favorite non-singer singers like Richard Harris, Jack Nitzsche, and The Pastels for inspiration and affirmation. After making a number of albums and projects that were largely instrumental, this new set of sung songs seemed like it needed to be presented in a way that differentiated it from my past output, and so I gave the project my given name, Aaron M Olson, and called the album ‘Songs Album’. Let there be no confusion, it’s an album of songs by a guy named Aaron M Olson. Thanks for listening.” Aaron M Olson