watch Lee Ranaldo’s new video for “Isolation” (John Lennon cover)
Former Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo has been putting up live recordings and rare releases from his back catalog on his Bandcamp, and the latest is 1998's Amarillo Ramp (for Robert Smithson). The album closes with a cover of John Lennon's "Isolation" that features the late Epic Soundtracks on drums. Lee has made a new video for "Isolation" featuring footage submitted by friends and fans from all over the world. It's pretty special and we'll let Lee take it from here:
"During this time of enforced global confinement – the ‘planetary pause’, as I’ve been calling it, I’ve been sorting thru some old releases, and came across my version of John Lennon’s ‘Isolation’, which was recorded back in 1991 and released on the 1998 album Amarillo Ramp (for Robert Smithson). Our dear, departed friend Epic Soundtracks (Swell Maps, These Immortal Souls, Crime and the City Solution) played drums on the track, and I’ve always loved both the original and the version of the song we made, almost 30 years ago now... I thought it could be timely to re-present this track as relevant to our current moment.
For video accompaniment I sent a request to friends far and wide around the globe, asking for brief personal video clips of the confinement from wherever they were – what they saw out on their streets, in their living spaces; whatever subjective view on our current situation they wanted to send me. I cut them all together to the song as a sort of informal, intimate record of this moment."
Some of those friends who submitted clips include Mike Watt, former SY drummers Bob Bert and Steve Shelley, Yeah Yeah Yeahs drummer Brian Chase, Alan Licht, Nels Cline, and more. It's a genuinely moving video and it premieres in this post. Watch it below.
Lee adds, "Stay safe out there, and hope to see you again once this is over, no matter how long it takes."
As for Amarillo Ramp, here's what Lee says:
Here's an album I hold in special regard, all recorded in the early 90s and released in 1998. The main track is an extended evocation of the land art work Amarillo Ramp, by American artist Robert Smithson. The final processing of this track was done by experimental sound artist Rafael Toral in his Lisbon studio. Epic Soundtracks plays drums on a cover of John Lennon's Isolation, and another track features Steve Shelly and Thurston Moore. Two film soundtracks - one featuring spoken word, one acoustic guitar meditation - round out the package.
You can stream it via Bandcamp below.