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photo by Meghan Tansey-Whitton


US Press: Daniel Gill at Force Field PR



The cruelest irony of life is that we never feel more alive than when we’re staring down death.
In those precarious moments, every fabric of your being is cranked up to 11: the uncontrolably
pounding heart, the dizzy head, the fight-or-flight adrenaline rush that courses through your
entire body. But even if you’re fortunate enough to have never endured a near-death
experience, you’re well familiar with all those feelings—because they just so happen to be the
very same physical sensations that overcome us when we’re approaching euphoria. (Not for
nothing did the French nickname orgasms “la petite mort”—i.e., “the little death.”)

Since releasing his first EP in 2007, Rich Aucoin has made it his life’s work to transform our
fear into fun, anxiety into ecstasy, panic into pleasure. A mad DayGlo-pop scientist in the
tradition of Brian Wilson, Wayne Coyne, and Dan Snaith, Rich is the sort of artist who has no
time for half measures, utilizing all the resources and connections at his disposal to ensure his
every gesture is a Major Event. To wit, his first proper album, 2011’s We’re All Dying to Live,
was a 22-track orchestro-rock magnum opus that, once you factor in the numerous choirs on
hand, featured over 500 collaborators. But making music is only half the story with
Rich—each of his releases to date have been constructed in tandem with companion films
made up of classic movies and public-domain footage that are meticulously edited by Rich
himself to sync up perfectly with his songs. And those visuals form the backdrop to a
now-legendary live spectacle that is less a rock concert than a secular big-tent revival, uniting
congregations under giant rainbow parachutes and thunderclouds of confetti. At any given
Rich Aucoin gig, there’s only one person in the room whose face isn’t frozen in a perma-smile:
the poor bastard on staff who’ll eventually have to clean up a post-show scene that resembles
a bombed-out party-favor store.

Rich’s sensory-overloading, synapse-bursting shows were initially a natural outgrowth of
adapting We’re All Dying to Live’s grandiose studio creations to live setting—a savvy means
of distracting you from the fact that Rich was more likely to be performing with just five people
rather than 500. For his 2014 follow-up, Ephemeral, Rich deliberately designed the songs to
amplify that onstage energy, yielding a bounty of frenetic, electro-pumped motivational
anthems powered by mass, call-and-response sing-alongs. But his latest, long-gestating
masterwork, Release, was born from a more insular, existential mindset. Pieced together over
the course of three years, across five cities in 16 studios with 70-plus collaborators and over a
hundred instruments, Release presents Rich’s most musically elaborate, fully realized vision
to date—which is saying a helluva lot, given his maximalist track record. If Ephemeral was a
ceaseless strobe-light flicker of a record, Release is more a lava lamp—a record of
slow-building, surprising mutations that invite more subjective interpretations.

Appropriately enough, Rich’s main inspiration for the record was literature’s ultimate
Rorschach test: Alice in Wonderland—in particular, the 1951 film adaptation that Rich has
strategically edited to sync up with the album, Dark Side of the Oz-style. On the one hand,

Current Release

Rich Aucoin
(Dine Alone Records)
Street Date: May 17th, 2019

Track List:

1. The Base
The Dream
3. The Middle
4. The Other
5. The Change
6. The Self
7. The Past
8. The Fear
9. The Mind
10. The Time
11. Release


Pics (click for hi-res)

ph0to credits: (1) Corbin Smith, (3-4) Meghan Tansey-Whitton