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Track By Track: Grayson Gilmour's New Album 'Holding Patterns'

Track By Track: Grayson Gilmour's New Album 'Holding Patterns'

Grayson Gilmour / C.C. / Photo credit: Ebony Lamb / Friday 3rd November, 2023 8:56AM

Grayson Gilmour brightens our wet and woolly Friday morning with his first new album in six years Holding Patterns, officially out today via Flying Nun Records. Adorned with vibrantly hued iconographic artwork by Bryce Wymer, Gilmour's sixth solo long player is the intricately rearranged result of improvisational studio sessions which sparked new musical connections for the Pōneke songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, award-winning film composer and So So Modern co-founder. Read his own words on the ideas and vast feelings rippling through each track on Holding Patterns — including collaborations with Sandu Ndu (Bells Atlas), Eddie Johnston (Lontalius, Race Banyon), Eilish Wilson and Cory Champion amongst a massive instrumental cast — order the limited edition vinyl LP edition HERE, and catch Gilmour touring his eleven track creation nationwide with band plus a cast of special guests in early December...

UTR proudly presents...

Grayson Gilmour - Holding Patterns Album Release Tour

Friday 1st December - Loons, Ōtautahi | Christchurch w/ Model Home
Friday 8th December - Meow, Te Whanganui-a-Tara | Wellington w/ Dawn Diver*
Saturday 9th December - The Wine Cellar, Tāmaki Makaurau | Auckland w/ Motte

Tickets available HERE via UTR
*Wellington tickets available via moshtix

1. ‘Oblivion’ is about the universe's indifference to our existence – what an uplifting way to start an album, right? But this isn’t a doom & gloom take – I find these musings empowering / comforting – especially on bad days! I also adapted some poetry from a US based poet, Christopher Buckley, for the opening verse – a first for my process.

2. ‘Here We Are’
ugh this is going to sound sappy and dramatic but I really felt 'connected to humanity' in the early stages of parenthood, watching a tiny life evolve each day. But it wasn’t always a joy – the sleep deprived psychosis hit hard and I definitely experienced bouts of depression. I wrote this song in response to these lows – the moments when you don’t know yourself – to ultimately celebrate life.

3. ‘Forget Yr Future’
nowadays it feels like many of us have two selves / live two lives – one physical; the other digital. I like romanticising the notion of breaking away from technology and going permanently ‘off grid’ – if I live until I'm old you might find me settled in the middle of nowhere looking like Gandalf.

4. ‘Our Perfect Storm’
you receive a lot of free advice as a young parent – while (let's be honest) most of it is unwelcome, occasionally a stranger says something as simple as “just fumble your way through it like we all did”, and it feels like the most honest and profound thing. We are all just fumbling our way through, with good luck and the bad…

5. 'Day Moon (ft. Sandu Ndu)'
I love the duality of seeing the moon during the day – natural, yet strangely out of context – beautiful, but gloomy at the same time. In a way it gives me some reassurance that two worlds coexist – we all have our ups and downs, but just like day and night, they’re simply phasing in and out. I met Sandu Ndu years ago in Wellington, and have kept in touch ever since. She’s a great vocalist and lyricist, and I’m a big fan of her band Bells Atlas, so I knew she'd work wonders on this track. We collaborated exclusively online – a process mirrored in the backing vocal contributions from Eddie Johnston (aka Lontalius).

6. ‘✧’
is me goofing around and injecting a lil’ halfway break – it’s a somewhat ridiculous process driven musical experiment where I took some music I was working on and processed it with AI software that’s designed to transcribe / re-voice speech. Here, there wasn’t any speech to begin with, so the software is basically trying to vocalise my music! I really enjoy messing with tools that aren't intended for music making to see what they can create.

7. ‘XO Artefacts’
so, the second half of the record has quite a strong anthropocene / climate change awareness tone to it – thematically, it moves from parenthood and starts contemplating ‘what kind of world are we creating for the next generation’? This track is a call to consciousness of sorts “it’s the life you make it; if it’s a lie, why fake it?

8. ‘Maat Mons’
existential / cosmic wonder runs amok! Sometimes the seemingly interconnected nature of everything takes hold of my imagination in a song like this – how else can I explain writing about the astral plane, life cycles, our devastation of earth, and name the result after the highest volcano on the planet Venus? Think of it like the musical equivalent of a film such as Everything, Everywhere All At Once – creating music is how I find myself in, and make sense of the universe…

9. ‘Holding Patterns’
while it might seem odd for the album’s title track to be an improvised, seven and a half minute instrumental, this piece encapsulates one of my favourite natural events – low cloud / fog rolling in on the South Coast (where I live) to create this beautiful, static, low visibility environment. It transports me to another world, and that’s the sensation I wanted to chase with this piece.

10. ‘Lessons As Landfill (ft. Eilish Wilson)’
again the ‘what kind of world…?’ query comes back into play here – we bury so much in the earth, and occasionally it comes back to haunt us (ugh, just Google ‘Owhiro bay orange sludge’). This song is an intergenerational plea of sorts, inspired by the young climate activists, asking those who are responsible to be just that. Working with Eilish on the saxes, clarinets and flutes on the album was such a great experience – her closing solo on this track was recorded in two isolated takes, and the way they spontaneously weave with each other is just awesome – a favourite moment of mine for sure!

11. ‘Did You Make It?’
after being quite ‘maximal’ for the album, ending on a gentle note felt appropriate. While the question for me is tied to the parental anxiety of keeping a small human alive, it’s one we can all relate to in our own way – how do we each make it through another day, week, month, year, and ultimately, life?

'Holding Patterns' is out today via Flying Nun — limited edition vinyl LP orders available HERE.


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Grayson Gilmour
Fri 1st Dec 8:00pm
The Loons, Lyttelton
Grayson Gilmour
Fri 8th Dec 8:00pm
Meow, Wellington
Grayson Gilmour
Sat 9th Dec 8:00pm
The Wine Cellar, Auckland