Over the last ten to fifteen years, Chad VanGaalen has been producing living maps in songs, drawings, modified instruments, animations and performances--shifting forms pointing to another world, infinitely more liveable, maybe hidden just under the surface of our own.
Now a father of two, the spooky-voiced multi-instrumentalist has several hundred releases to his name(s), has produced adventurous records and videos for some of the best bands of our time, is working on a feature-length animated science fiction film with companion book, and plays in two bands with his kids (the improvised hardcore punk duo, Crocodile Teeth & The Snugglers, and the live techno band, Banana Bread). At one point, Chad and his daughters conspired to replace the name, "Chad VanGaalen" with "Banana Bread," as his main performing identity.
"Shrink Dust", Chad’s fifth full-length album under his own name, is partially a score to Translated Log of Inhabitants, the animated film he has been working on for two years, but it’s also—in Chad’s view—a country record.
Always a fan of esoteric instruments, Chad recently acquired an aluminum pedal steel guitar, and began trying to figure out how to play it: "It took me a month to set it up, and a year to be comfortable recording myself playing this thing." His experiments with this instrument unify the album, along with themes of death, transformation, fear, benign evil, and the eccentricity of love. A newfound affection for The Flying Burrito Brothers, and the sci-fi mysticism of the 1980s graphic novel The Incal by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius, were also significant in recent years.
Somehow, with all of its disparate influences and components, "Shrink Dust" might be one of the most accessible moments in CVG's creative life, simply because it is more apparent than ever how much fun he is having blurring the lines between the vivid worlds of his creation, and the world his audience inhabits. For those who are open to it, Chad's adventures in music and art illuminate a path that is more colorful, playful, and sustainable than those commonly available to us. A path that is, most importantly, always changeable.
released April 29, 2014
Written and recorded by Chad VanGaalen.
Matt Flegel played his bass on 'Evil' thanks manzo!
All drawings by Chad V.
Thanks to Ian Russell, Tony Kiewel and Sub Pop, thanks to my friends and family and especially Pipta, Sara and Ezzy. Dedicated to Chris and Lila. I know you know we love you.
Graphic layout: Sasha Barr and Ian Russell. Thanks Eric Hamelin, Scott Munro, and Matt Flegel for playing in the live band, and putting up with my stupid shit.