Vanderwolf has released his new single, leading with the A side “When The Fire Grows Cold,” a piano-led cinematic nightmare-lullaby co-sung by the legendary musician-activist, Robert Wyatt. The B side is “Extinction!” a 7-minute Balkan-brass Psychedelic fantasy featuring the late, great Daevid Allen’s glissando guitar solo and the wonderful Terry Edwards (PJ Harvey, Lydia Lunch, Tindersticks) on saxophone. These two epic tracks capture the polarities of Vanderwolf’s vision: one song precise and quietly disturbing and one sprawling and transcendent.
As well as being a musician with a long and storied history (most notably as vocalist with semi-legendary London band Last Man Standing, whose sole album in 2007 received plaudits from Mojo and Uncut), Max Vanderwolf has a hugely successful career as a music programmer and concert producer, working for some of the worlds’ most celebrated clubs and concert venues. These include New York’s legendary Knitting Factory and London’s internationally-renowned Royal Festival Hall, where for 9 years he produced the Meltdown Festival working closely with David Bowie, Patti Smith, Jarvis Cocker, Massive Attack and Ornette Coleman. It was while working on Meltdown that Vanderwolf forged his friendship with Robert Wyatt.
Explains Vanderwolf: “I had produced a tribute to Wyatt in NYC many years ago. Fred Frith, Peter Blegvad, Hugh Hopper and many others appeared. Robert gave it his official nod of support. When I moved to London to produce my first Meltdown Festival, Robert seemed the obvious choice to curate it, and from that, a lovely friendship evolved. Of course it was daunting asking him to sing something I’d written. I know he gets a lot of proposals of which he turns down nearly all. But happily, he said yes. He said he thought he could sing this set of lyrics— and commented about the possibility of singing about his father. It was a huge relief to me.”
“When The Fire Grows Cold,” which features co-producer Sam Sallon on piano, is lifted by what Wyatt referred to as a “peasant-chorus.” Award-winning video director Alden Volney also depicted the “peasant chorus” in the accompanying video for the song.
Watch the video for “When the Fire Grows Cold” featuring Robert Wyatt through the YouTube player below:
Alden Volney is a French Video Maker, Director, Animator and Composer from Normandy. He has directed many music videos – both animated & live-action for artists such as Nicolas Godin, Villagers, Bobby Womack, Lisa Hannigan, Temples, Iggy Pop, Jamie XX to cite a few. In 2017 The Cubitt art gallery in London hosted his first video installation, “Broadcaste” funded by Fluxus. He’s currently making the jump to storytelling, working on a feature length animated film.
The single’s B-side “Extinction!” is a dark ritualistic journey drawing on Balkan brass, African drumming, electronic analogue Trance elements, crunching metallic guitars and with guest appearances from the late legendary guitarist Daevid Allen of Soft Machine and Gong and saxophonist Terry Edwards (Tindersticks, PJ Harvey, Lydia Lunch).
The idea of these tracks being paired is partially due to the thematic link of the lyrics: the folly of human progress that has brought us to the very brink of our own mass extinction. But it is also a linkage between Wyatt and Allen who met as kids in Canterbury England when Daevid Allen became a border in the Wyatt household at the age of 16. He had been shipped off by his family to England because he was too effeminate and too artistically-inclined for the rugged testosterone-driven culture of Australia in the early 1960s. “Allen showed up with Charlie Parker albums under his arm and from their mutual love of bebop a creative partnership was formed. We tried to reflect that love for Jazz in the album artwork and the music itself.”
Together those two kids would, along with Kevin Ayers and Mike Ratledge, form the Soft Machine who became the soundtrack for the swinging Psychedelic 60s. Regulars at the UFO club and the Roundhouse playing on bills with their contemporaries, Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd.
A new album from Vanderwolf will be released this summer.
To purchase “Extinction” – 2 song single: https://lnk.to/Extinction
A: When The Fire Grows Cold Feat. Robert Wyatt
Vanderwolf & the Last Man Standing Ensemble:
Max Vanderwolf / Vocals
Sam Sallon / Keyboards
Chris Wyles / Drums
Chris Cordoba / Guitar
Will Muldrew / Bass
Robert Wyatt / Vocals
Daevid Allen / Glissando Guitar
Terry Edwards / Sax
Ed Rieband / Trombone
Nick Etwell / Trumpet
Afla Sackey / Percussion
Spoken vocals – Pablo Farba & a Serbian Uber Driver