UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA
RELEASE NEW ALBUM, V, TODAY VIA JAGJAGUWAR – STREAM / PURCHASE HERE
SHARE NEW VIDEO FOR “MESHUGGAH” – WATCH HERE
TOUR THE UK IN MAY AND JUNE WITH TWO LONDON SHOWS AT THE TROXY ON 31 MAY (SOLD OUT) AND 1 JUNE 2023
The long-awaited double album, V, from Unknown Mortal Orchestra is now available via Jagjaguwar. Accompanying the album release is a mesmerising new music video for “Meshuggah,” the song the band shared just earlier this week. Directed by Morian Mikhail, the video seamlessly combines high-stakes street racing with a touching story of young love. The “Meshuggah” video follows the pair of Vira Lata-directed videos for “Layla” and “Nadja,” both of which arrived in the weeks leading up to today’s album release. While the singles have been praised in their own right, with The New York Times describing “Layla” in particular as “full of warmth, with a soulful vocal melody,” and Clash praising its “interlocking guitar lines”, citing the band’s “always on point UMO groove“, the album is best experienced as a whole. Replete with seamless transitions and interstitials not previously seen in the Unknown Mortal Orchestra catalogue, the album flows seamlessly for an hour across its 14 tracks. While employing new tricks along the way, the album features quintessential Ruban Nielson songcraft – songs that feel absolutely effortless on the surface in a way that belies their complexity.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra also recently launched UMOTV, a 24/7 livestream featuring the band’s complete catalogue, music videos, and more. Designed to be an algorithm-free home for all things UMO, UMOTV will feature unreleased music, exclusive visuals, a doomsday chatbot and other surprises.
Conceived in Palm Springs, California between the dry freeways and the lush coastline of Hilo, Hawaii, V is led by Hawaiian-New Zealand musician Ruban Nielson and draws from the rich traditions of West Coast AOR, classic hits, weirdo pop and Hawaiian Hapa-haole music. With V, UMO’s first double album, Nielson reframes and enriches the road that led him to this moment. During the pandemic’s early days, Nielson’s brother Kody flew from New Zealand to Palm Springs to help him with his recordings. One of their Hawaiian uncles began displaying health issues, and Nielson realised he was facing a sharper and more acute sense of mortality. To be with him, he put aside his recordings and helped his mother and another of her brothers move from New Zealand and Portland, respectively, to Hawai’i. He reunited with his brother at his cousin’s wedding in Hawai’i and together they travelled back to Palm Springs, where the fourteen singalong anthems, cinematic instrumentals, and mischievous pop songs in V were brought together with the help of his father, Chris Nielson (saxophone/flute), and longstanding UMO member Jake Portrait.
V evokes blue skies, beachside cocktail bars, hotel pools and the darkness that lurks below perfect, pristine surfaces. The desert resort city’s palm tree-lined streets reminded Ruban of a childhood spent playing by hotel swimming pools with his siblings while their entertainer parents performed in showbands across the Pacific and East Asia, and he became aware of the glamorised hedonism he’d internalised since childhood and the darker side of his parents’ lifestyle when they were working as entertainers
“In Hawaii, everything shifted off of me and my music,” Nielson said. “Suddenly, I was spending more time figuring out what others need and what my role is within my family. I also learned that things I thought were true of myself are bigger than I thought. My way of making mischief – that’s not just me – that’s my whole Polynesian side. I thought I was walking away from music to focus on family, but the two ended up connecting.”
A primary goal of V for Nielson was to make music and art that transcends notions of clout and cultural currency while also aiming to inject having fun back into the process of creating music. For Nielson, V is about having fun while making music and art and by doing so, he reclaims taste as a personal part of selfhood, propelling UMO to new creative heights.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra kick off their headline North American tour next week which includes multiple sold out nights in San Francisco and New York, before performing across the UK and Europe this May and June. The UK tour includes two London shows at The Troxy on 31st May 2023 (sold out) and 1st June 2023, and the band will be back to headline this year’s End Of The Road Festival in the Autumn. Tickets are on sale now.
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My life is a soundtrack, i track my life through music, photography is my passion, my escape, my expression. Without both i have pieces missing, thankfully i’m blessed and get to combine both.
Born in Manchester, lived in Australia for 22 years where i was heavily involved in the Australian Music Industry, firstly in bands (Singer) and then managing bands (all original), I moved back to the UK, Wales specifically 10 years ago and married my childhood sweetheart and life is good.