09. IN PIECES
Murray Lightburn - Analogue Photography from Light Echo Productions We traveled to Quebec to the spend the day with Murray Lightburn of The Dears at his Montreal home. He opened up about his love of film, photography and vintage camera gear and took us through the development process of a recently shot roll of film. We also had the pleasure to record a stripped down, acoustic version of Through Storms from his debut solo album, “MASS:LIGHT”.
We’ve long admired the work of Murray Lightburn, whose work with The Dears earned him a rightful place in Canadian music canon. (Heck, we even declared 2006′s Gang of Losers one of Arts and Crafts’ most defining LPs.) So, when the Montrealer announced that he’d be going solo, we were plenty excited: With his MASS:LIGHT LP, Lightburn hinted that he was moving in darker, more cerebral, and more complex directions. Indeed, when we last spoke to him, he promised an album that sounded nothing like The Dears, but in the best possible way—and boy, did he ever deliver.Click here for the original post and an exclusive acoustic download.
MASS:LIGHT was an exercise in polarity: It was an electronic opera outing. It was a gothic pop album, straddling the line between dark and light. And while it was an ambitious outing, it still showcased Lightburn’s ability to craft consistent earworms. We caught up with him at M for Montreal to talk about the decision to go solo, the electronic direction of his new songs, and how he managed to combine the influences of Slaughterhouse Five and Jesus Christ Superstar.
That, and Lightburn tells us how to properly eat a Montreal bagel. Check the vid.
RRREMIXXX: MASS:LIGHT’s A THOUSAND LIGHT YEARS
Our pal, Sebastien Grainger rrremixxxed this track which you can now add to your next party’s playlist. Download the track from Soundcloud for free.
Check out the ridiculously hot bass lixxx.
Hot new vid coming soon!
Murray Lightburn, singer of Montreal band The Dears, has made a mother of a solo album. “Mass:Light” is an electronic concept album, a sci-fi story about death and war and crystal balls, which follows a despicable, yet sympathetic character named The Ruiner as he faces his judgment day.
Regarding Motion Pictures.
Though I’m still shooting and processing analog still photographs, I have been dabbling in motion picture as well. DIY motion picture, in 2013/14, usually means some kind of DSLR or Handycam of sorts and trips to the Home Depot. Last year, just before Christmas, I opted to buy a Bolex H16. It is at least 60 years old, I reckon. You wind it up and it will shoot about 30 seconds at a time at 24 frames per second. Seems simple enough to me. It shoots 16mm film, which is about half the size and about 1/3 of the price of 35mm.
I know lots of people who went to some kind of film school or art school. I wasn’t as “lucky” — perhaps just The Man’s way of keeping a brother down. Only now, in my early 40s, I’m deciding to learn about film making — the hard way, of course. There is no other way for me to achieve anything in this life BUT the hard way. No self pity here; I’m not bothered by it at all. In fact, I love it. Life would be a series Zs otherwise.
Talking with one my friends who actually went to film school, we both agree that film is the ultimate art form for obvious reasons. I’m not bored with music as much as I am bored with everything that happens after and around making music. That is another (incredibly boring) conversation entirely. Anyway, fuck it; it seemed completely logical that I would want learn about making movies after years of making epic albums. Essentially, though, it’s a hobby perhaps gone too far.
Naturally, I have to start out with “music videos” as it is the form with which I am most familiar. I’ve always had these ridiculous, grand ideas. Like the time I wanted to hang off a helicopter over Montreal while singing the final chorus to End Of A Hollywood Bedtime Story. (I didn’t have kids back then.) Anyway, I can’t be bothered to try to articulate my ideas to anyone anymore. When I do, I’m mostly met with blank stares, polite smiles and maybe a “good for you, Murray!” followed by a “good luck, buddy” or my personal fave, “you can’t do that.” I can’t just sit around and expect someone to dream something up for me either. Finally, almost no one will do anything unless it involves thousands of dollars and alot of fancy-pants gear. My first vid, "Motherfuckers," cost about 1200 bucks and was shot in a day, on 16mm film. We had never shot a inch of motion picture before never mind 700 feet of it. We just approached it like a photo shoot except the pictures were moving. Neat.
So this is what this blog is about now. I plan to relay the things I am learning on this journey. You can totally choose not to read. Or you can share this with friends who might be interested. It’s going to get SUPER nerdy, sometimes philosophical, maybe emotional but I oath it will end in triumph. I just hope to inspire other dimwits/has-beens/almost-wases like me who never stop dreaming — in 21st century analog fashion.
The official “trailer” for the next film from my solo, make-believe project, Murray A. Lightburn’s MASS:LIGHT for the song “A Thousand Light Years.” Filmed with the Bolex H16 on 16mm film on Kodak Vision 3 200T, 500T, and 250D, processed and transferred to digital intermediate at Vision Globale here in MTL. Currently, I’m editing (FCP) and polishing it up for final presentation…stay tuned.
Natalia, as re-imagined for the Yellow Bird Poetry Project. Scroll through the “A Taster” section for a podcast as read by Natalia.
IN WHICH we discuss Amazing Race, tour bus antics, Wil Wheaton, being funny, being married and other embarrassing things.
HOLIDAZE MERCH SALE!
Use the promocode MASS2LIGHT and get 15% off anything in our online store (including the final M:L vinyl stragglers). Sale ends December 8th. http://store.thedears.org
LAST CHANCE TO SEE!
Murray will be presenting an abridged version of MASS:LIGHT at M FOR MONTREAL as part of the Official Selection. Wednesday November 20th at 11:30PM. Tickets: http://goo.gl/GQjgzH
MURRAY & NATALIA & STROMBO
Can’t come to the show? That’s OK. Canadians should stay at home Wednesday November 20th and watch George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight at 7PM. Murray, Natalia and comedian Ali Hassan are on The Panel talking about working couples. http://www.cbc.ca/strombo/schedule
SPEAKING OF WHICH
Natalia is among the “touring moms” interviewed in Come Worry with Us!, a documentary that follows Thee Silver Mt Zion on tour with their son. The trailer almost gave me (Natalia) PTSD when I watched it. http://comeworrywithus.ca/
thedears.org (you are here)
Krief - Perfect Bodies
Murray Lightburn’s debut solo album is something of a departure from his work with The Dears, the Montréal-based outfit he has headed for 18 years and five albums. Firstly, for MASS:LIGHT, Lightburn played all the instruments, constructing all the album’s sounds, save for some strings and brass. (via Murray A. Lightburn: MASS:LIGHT (Ting Dun) Review | Under the Radar - Indie Music Magazine)
Music, Laffs, Darkness, God: Interview and acoustic performance by Murray on The Strombo Show. Download the podcast.