LNZNDRF (The National, Beirut) announce new LP, share song, discuss influences
LNZNDRF -- the band of The National's Scott and Bryan Devendorf and National/Beirut/Sufjan/etc collaborator Benjamin Lanz, which now also officially includes Aaron Arntz (Beirut, Grizzly Bear) of their live lineup -- will follow their 2016 self-titled debut LP (and 2020 To A Lake EP) with their sophomore album, II, on January 29 (pre-order). The first single is "Brace Yourself," a driving post-punk song with a little hint of early U2, and you can watch the Benjamin Lanz-directed video for that below.
The band's four members also spoke to us about the music that influenced the album, and they included songs by New Order, Faust, Mdou Moctar, Miles Davis, Laurie Anderson, and more. Read on to see what each member picked and what they had to say about each one...
MUSIC THAT INFLUENCED LNZNDRF II
Scott Devendorf (bass guitar, synths):
Craig Leon - Nommo (1981)
I love the clarity of the synths and electronic percussion here— glacially earthy and interstellar at the same time. According to Craig Leon, the music is based on a theory that "extraterrestrial beings from another planet, called 'Nommos’ came to Earth and and taught earlier humans how to create the basic tools of civilization, construction of buildings, farming and so on.”
Faust IV - Piano Piece (Das Meer) (1973 / 2006)
A beautiful dreamy, spacey, and nearly vocalless piano and drum meditation from Faust’s 4th LP. Like floating on a diesel cloud.
New Order - Procession (1981)
Sublime synth waves and propulsive beats! One of my favorite New Order songs. Though the whole band are credited as songwriters, drummer Stephen Morris is recognized as chief composer in Peter Hook’s memoir Substance: Inside New Order. Perfect.
Benjamin Lanz (vocals, guitar, synths):
Mdou Moctar - Anna
This song is mesmerizing. I love the layering of metric modes. The fluidity of that riff, floating through the big beats...why count when you can feel?! Playing along with this one helped refresh my guitar feelings.
Miles Davis - Go Ahead John
I love this track. I love this era of Miles’ band. Miles’ playing is great of course, but the John McLaughlin, super fuzzed-out guitar solo on this one is free-form guitarspiration to the utmost. Also Jack DeJohnette’s beat, landing somewhere between rock, jazz, and one-man percussion ensemble and, like McLaughlin’s solo, chopped up by incessant, random, control room hard panning... aspirational inspiration! Production as a creative voice!
Laurie Anderson - O Superman
“Oh Superman!” Micro riffs lead to big journeys. I love so many things about this track, but the part that has been most inspiring lately and leading up to making our record is the idea of focusing on the mantra of the smallest repeated musical fraction and the foundation that it lays, freeing us from self conscious songwriting and leaving us to excavate the parts that already exist in the elements of the sound.
I also love the mechanical imperfections in “Oh Superman,” which I think each of us LNZNDRFers explore in our own way when we're writing. Inserting human imperfection into the rhythmic and/or pitched grid has been a shared goal in writing and recording this music. Like Laurie Anderson bending the pitches within the hard, controlled channeling of her vocoder, or for that matter, the entire genre of Krautrock.
Aaron Arntz (synths, piano):
Moon B - Lifeworld Part 1
These supermixes of hissy analog joy represent all that is good about finding crispy sounds, setting up a warm bed, and going for it without regard for classification or genre. Get a nasty synth, let it modulate and mess around over hard grooves.
Airto Moreira - Xibaba (She-ba-ba)
Hermeto Pascoal is one of my heroes as a composer and player and his organ breakdown at ~1:22 is one of the most exciting keyboard breaks in history. He starts with a fearless texture and as the solo progresses demonstrates how to explore an instrument and be playful (using the manuals for call-and-response, swelling with the volume pedal, etc.). With Hermeto, you can feel the instrument's living and breathing under his fingers. All the while, Airto and company are reactive and in a deep pocket.
Erik Satie - Sarabande II
I always thought these Sarabandes were probably improvised by Satie then edited later (which matches our LNZNDRF process). It seems like each chord listens to where it 'wants to go next' using melody as a guide. These pieces are harmonically interesting while simultaneously textural and meditative—something I strive to bring to LNZNDRF in our more contemplative moments.
Bryan Devendorf (drums, percussion):
Krautrock bliss from members of Cluster and NEU! who lived together for a few years (1973-76) in a remote location in West Germany, making music, growing vegetables and chopping wood from the lush landscape.
Harmonia - Musik von Harmonia (full album)
Harmonia - Deluxe
Harmonia & Eno ‘76 - Tracks and Traces
LNZNDRF II Tracklist:
1. The Xeric Steppe
2. Brace Yourself
3. You Still Rip