Living legend Paul Simon has a new album coming out called Stranger to Stranger, and today, the songwriting guru shared the album’s first single, Wristband.
Simon’s latest effort was inspired by the experimental musical ideas of 20th century composer Harry Partch. Partch was renowned for his use of custom instruments, outside-the-norm tunings, and his knowledge of music theory. For Simon, who first rose to fame as the heavier half of legendary duo Simon & Garfunkel in the 1960s, the new album — and the exploration of Partch’s ideas — was all a part of a concerted effort to keep exploring new sounds.
“It’s about getting you to actually hear something in a new way,” he said in a recent interview with Billboard, “It’s about making music that sounds old and new at the same time; music with a sense of mystery.”
The sense of mystery is present on Wristband, which showcases a layered approach to the sound, with upright bass, horns, and myriad percussion instruments creating a sonic fog for the songwriter’s voice to float cheerfully atop.
Simon has never been into esoteric soundscapes for their own sake; In looking for new and obscure sounds, he is chasing new forms of sonic beauty to share with listeners, with the idea of having a long-lasting influence.
“Sound is the theme of this album as much as it’s about the subjects of the individual songs. If people get that, I’ll be pleased,” Simon said about his new effort, “The right song at the right time can live for generations. A beautiful sound, well that’s forever.”
Stranger to Stranger was produced by longtime Simon collaborator Roy Haylee, and will come out on Concord Records on June 3. The musician and his live band have scheduled a 40-show North American tour to support the new release, which will take place this spring and summer.
For more information about the record or to see a full list of live dates, fans can check out Simon’s website.