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Absolutely Free announces remix album, shares Joseph Shabason remix of “How To Paint Clouds”

STREAM: “How To Paint Clouds” (Joseph Shabason Remix) –
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“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 released their sophomore album Aftertouch in late 2021, a carefully wrought and prismatic journey into the annals of contemporary (read: post-physical) culture. Running free with flourishes of experimentation, yet rooted in melody and rhythm, Absolutely Free blurs boundaries between avant-garde and pop across the album’s eight songs. “How To Paint Clouds,” a complex of soaring polyrhythms, arrived first with a music video of AI-generated cloud paintings. Known for their exploratory approach, Absolutely Free now revisits the song with How to Repaint Clouds, an 8-track remix project using only MIDI (Multi Instrument Digital Interface) files – a digital language that contains harmonic and rhythmic blueprints, but no actual recordings.

“The song’s lyrics reflect upon the transcience of taste and how an artist’s feelings toward their work change over time,” the band says. “When a musician revisits their old songs, new interpretations are informed by changing contexts and evolving preferences. We wanted to stray from traditional modes of remixes based upon manipulating a song’s individual audio tracks, to provide the artists with an unusual freedom from the original material, to create new sounds and reassemble the motifs of the song.”

The resulting remixes scatter across a diverse aesthetic range (from dark techno to psych funk), interpreting the track’s original structures untethered from its instrumentation. The first salvo from the collection,  an airy FX and saxophone laden piece by renowned Toronto musician Joseph Shabason evokes his signature ambient jazz and the terrestrial atmospherics of Jon Hassell.


Elsewhere in the collection, Castle If stays true to the arrangement, but puts every instrument through her iconic Moog synthesizer. Zones smooths out the time signature and phases-out their Rompler synth, creating a dense groove, and Scattered Clouds blows it wide open with an analog feel. New Chance provides a version that evokes the bitter end of the rave. And Absolutely Free offers two remixes of their own material through a 90’s penchant for cascading rhythms and hypnotic progressions. How to Repaint Clouds will be released on May 5, 2022 via Boiled Records, and will arrive with a tactile rendering: 20 one-of-a-kind AI-generated cloud painting turntable slipmats.


Shifting in the liminal space between analogue and digital sounds, real and fabricated images, reveling 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 present moment. 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 ViolensAftertouch is dense with ideas but balanced by precise decisions. Culling from a myriad of influences that span 60s pop, 70s krautrock, 80s new wave (see “Epilogue (After Touch)”, 90s IDM, 00s psych (see “Interface”), Absolutely Free has created a patina of disparate but harmonic styles distinctly its own.


Comprised of the core trio of Matt King (vocals/multi-instrumentalist), Michael Claxton (bass/synth), and Moshe Fisher-Rozenberg (drums/synth), Absolutely Free is an offshoot of the now-defunct experimental rock outfit DD/MM/YYYY, whose multi-rhythmic boundary-pushing raison d’être provided a springboard for the open skyline on which Absolutely Free now creates. The band’s Polaris-nominated 2014 debut album Absolutely Free., released via Arts & Crafts/Fat Possum Records garnered international acclaim from Pitchfork, FADER, Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan, Exclaim!, Under The Radar, Pop Matters, AllMusic, many more. Absolutely Free have toured alongside Alvvays, Youth Lagoon, and Preoccupations and have shared bills with Beak>, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, U.S. Girls, and Fucked Up. 

Press photo by Darren Rigo

Absolutely Free
How To Repaint Clouds

Release Date: May 5, 2022

Track List:

1. How to Paint Clouds
2. How to Paint Clouds (Absolutely Free Remix)
3. How to Paint Clouds (Joseph Shabason Remix)
4. How to Paint Clouds (Scattered Clouds Remix)
5. How to Paint Clouds (New Chance Remix)
6. How to Paint Clouds (Zones Remix)
7. How to Repaint Clouds (Absolutely Free Remix)
8. How Moogs Cloud Paint (Castle If Remix)


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