Absolutely Free Shares “Epilogue (After Touch)” video ahead of new LP, out tomorrow
New LP, Aftertouch, out at midnight tonight via Boiled Records
“It’s a pathway to another dimensions” – CLASH
“Deep-space cosmic-rock odyssey that they’ll be blasting on Orion” – Pitchfork
“Full of groovy motorik rhythms and reverb-soaked hooks” – Rolling Stone
“Stately yet psychedelic” – Stereogum
“The musical equivalent of colouring outside the lines” – CBC Music
Absolutely Free prepares for tomorrow’s long-anticipated release of its sophomore album, Aftertouch, with the opening song “Epilogue (After Touch)”. Introducing a collection of songs that wades into our recent loss of tactile culture, “Epilogue” is a whirring to life of wistful synthesizers, a wall of retrosynthetic new wave textures that builds against a post-apocalyptic sunrise to a shuffling, maximalist, electro-psych peak. Touchdown can feel like an arrival / like a movie that’s faded out / But, I still wonder what’s behind, sings Matt King in still, melancholic tones. Accompanied by director Rachelle Walkers’ music video, which layers found footage in dark prismatic forms with Norman McLaren-like illusions of movement, “Epilogue (After Touch)” is an autumnal beginning to the broad, reflective sonic journey of Aftertouch – releasing midnight September 24 via Boiled Records. Says Absolutely Free:
“‘Epilogue (After Touch)’ conjures an existence, where a linear progression of time no longer seems applicable. With reference to cinematic narrative, the lyrics touch upon living in a contemporary culture that seems to be referential and symbolic of what’s already in the past.”
Running free with flourishes of experimentation, yet rooted in accessible melody and rhythm, Absolutely Free blurs boundaries between avant-garde and pop across the album’s eight songs. A tug-of-war within its sonic harmony, Aftertouch explores narratives of hegemony, grief, and exploitation in the present while ultimately sustaining curiosity for the unknown future. Making reference to the name of a synthesizer function, Aftertouch deconstru
Known for their varying multi-instrumentalist approaches and experimental live performances, Absolutely Free “wanted to create an album that wasn’t bound by a physical ability to perform it live, to not only expand our palette, but also to consider the live performance as something completely separate.” Shifting in the liminal space between analogue and digital sounds, real and fabricated images, revelling in and refuting the loss of tactility, Absolutely Free is able to create vibrations of physical tension and emotional resonance. A deeply considered masterwork of sonic craft and societal reflection more than five years in the making, Aftertouch is an extremely timely, beautiful, and restless meditation on the very present moment. The band says:
“Aftertouch is the feeling of loss for the physical.
Aftertouch represents the point where an action ceases and reaction begins.
Aftertouch is about how the past gets distorted as a reflection of the present.
Aftertouch is the idea of letting go of physicality and exploring the new realities in which we presently exist.”
The Toronto psychedelic pop trio’s Polaris Music Prize nominated self-titled debut was hailed as “breathtakingly beautiful” by Stereogum upon its 2014 release. Following an array of multimedia projects and releases, including 2019’s Geneva Freeport EP (featuring U.S. Girls’ Meg Remy) and 2020’s Two Cares Due None OST, the band recently returned with the ascendant “How To Paint Clouds” – called a “flying wedge of art pop” by Brooklyn Vegan – and “Interface,” a kaleidoscopic blast about the dichotomy of the digital-social identity that CLASH called a “pathway to another dimension.” The recently released “Remaining Light,” a six-minute centrepiece of the album, is a sprawling two-part journey about rising gun violence against marginalized populations, its marimba-propelled groove evoking shades of Arthur Russell’s World of Echo and the post-rock sensibilities of Tortoise and Meddle-era Pink Floyd.
Produced by Jorge Elbrecht, who has shaped the sound of releases by No Joy, Gang Gang Dance, Japanese Breakfast, and his own bands Lansing-Dreiden and Violens, Aftertouch is dense with ideas but balanced by precise decisions. Culling from a myriad of influences that span 60s pop, 70s krautrock, 80s new wave, 90s IDM, 00s psych, Absolutely Free has created a patina of disparate but harmonic styles distinctly its own.
Absolutely Free has developed a long resumé of visual art alongside its adventures in sound, including holographic performances, live film score work with the National Film Board of Canada, Toronto International Film Fest, and more. To mark the release of Aftertouch, the band has created an enhanced website that includes visualizers for every song. As a fitting bookend to “Epilogue,” the album closing “Morning Sun” is accompanied by a web app that locates exactly where in the world the sun is currently rising; and the relentlessly rhythmic Santana-esque “Clear Blue Sky” is met with a Google Maps-generated music video that drives the viewer to their current IP address location, with a twist awaiting them at the destination. Absolutely Free marks the album’s release with a special appearance Saturday, September 25, at Long Winter Together Apart in Toronto. Tickets and info HERE
Comprised of the core trio of Matt King (vocals/multi-