When Annie Clark was mixing last year’s critically acclaimed Masseduction, she cut another version of the same album that she’s since dubbed MassEducation. The reworked LP, which will come out on October 12th, features only her on vocals and Thomas Bartlett on piano. She described the record in a statement as “two dear friends playing songs together with the kind of secret understanding one can only get through endless nights in New York City.”
She recorded the LP, which is available for pre-order, with Bartlett at studio in midtown Manhattan last August. She released one of the songs on YouTube with the title “Slow Slow Disco” last week; its sparser arrangement shows off a different side of the song’s sadness.
“Thomas and I faced each other – him, huddled over a grand piano, me, curled on a couch,” she wrote in a handwritten statement. “We neither rehearsed nor spoke about how to approach any song, but rather played two to three live takes, picked the best one and trusted in the feeling of the moment. It was fast, intuitive … raw.”
She added that she met Bartlett about 10 years ago and that he had introduced her to many people she would write about in her songs. “Through him, I found ‘my people, the freaks and others … ‘” she wrote. “I owe my most transcendent nights and exquisite hangovers to his company.”
On a new version of “Savior,” Clark sings about playing bedtime dress-up to a soundtrack of plucked and muted piano strings, which give way to a gentle chorus of “Then you say, ‘Pleeeaase'” featuring full piano playing.
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She premiered the arrangements live with Bartlett at two recent performances: last month at London’s Cadogan Hall and Monday night at Los Angeles’ Belasco Theater. In the meantime, she’s heading back out on the road with her full band for a short run of North American shows, including stops in Austin and Los Angeles.
MassEducation Track List
1. “Slow Disco”
5. “Fear the Future”
6. “Smoking Section”
7. “Los Ageless”
8. “New York”
9. “Young Lover”
10. “Happy Birthday, Johnny”
12. “Hang On Me”