ALO with Twiddle
ALO is not a band that dwells in the past. They are always moving forward. Always striving to discover new ideas. Always looking to go on new adventures. Their latest adventure, Man of the World (to be released February 9, 2010 on Brushfire Records), finds the Cali collective flexing their considerable creative powers to craft their finest album yet. Recorded almost entirely live, the 11-song collection is the sound of four players who have truly found their groove together. This is ALO at their most natural, their most organic and their most pure. Man of the World is the next level for ALO.
Man of the World was engineered by the band’s steady studio partner Dave Simon-Baker and produced by none other than Jack Johnson, a longtime friend and musical collaborator. The singer/songwriter/producer was a natural fit with ALO. “It felt like he joined the band for the album,” drummer Dave Brogan admits. “He was very hands on. If he thought he could add something to a track, he was willing to go for it. And we were more than happy to let him.”
For the recording, the quartet packed their bags, said goodbye to their friends and families, and headed off to Johnson’s home studio on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. The weather was perfect, the vibe was relaxed, and the locals laid back. It was the change in scenery they all needed. “It was everything I hoped for,” bassist Steve Adams acknowledges. “It was a fresh environment, a great change-up from our normal routine.”
As they always have, they shared the songwriting and the vocal duties. Though all four members came to the studio with arrangements and parts of songs fleshed out, everything got scrambled as soon as everyone was together. “There was a real workshop vibe,” guitarist Lebo affirms. “Arrangements were being torn apart and put back together in ways nobody could have imagined. It was sort of a Humpty Dumpty vibe out there, but this time all the kings’ horses and all the kings’ men did put Humpty back together again. And he came out much better because of it.”
The band had traditionally built their songs up track by track, but they abandoned that approach for a rawer, more organic, one. “In the days before digital recording and endless tracks, when musicians were confined to two or four tracks, this is how it was done,” keyboardist Zach Gill explains. “Musicians had to play together at the same time and get it right. A great performance meant that everybody got it right at the same time. I’ve always felt that you can hear the difference in recordingsmade this way. You actually get to hear the sound of people in a room making something together. Not an artificial simulation.”
Songs that sprang out of the band’s new recording approach span the sonic spectrum in classic ALO fashion. Collectively, the songs of Man of the World reveal the story of four friends taking an intensely personal journey together. It is the sound of a band living, creating, loving and growing together. It is the sound of ALO.
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