TSS is the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Jón Gabríel Lorange. The project’s fourth LP, Tracks up my sleeve, was released independently on February 1, continuing to display its use of minimalist soundscapes, synthesized instruments and catchy songwriting. The album explores the grooves that make your body move and dives into Jón’s latest relationships without demanding a lot from the listener — it’s just 20 minutes long, with three phone recordings falling well within the minute mark. We asked Jón to walk us through Tracks up my sleeve. Here’s what he has to say.
Fyrsta lagið á nýju plötunni
“This is exactly as the title suggests. The album includes a few phone recordings and I found this moment a good time to play an idea of a song, which isn’t on the album though. On the recording, my wife Emma (who made the album cover) asks about a blinking light on the synth I’m playing.”
A mantra to combat stress, the song begins with deep breaths. Jón says: “The main part of this song is a rather nervous dance beat where I sing about how stress isn’t good.” This boppy track sounds like a demo by LCD Soundsystem.
A taste for the demonic
An eccentric 32-second track, Jón plainly states: “There was some kind of an imp inside me when I made this song.”
þér ég ann
Jón says that the song was originally written by Ukrainian film composer Dimitri Tiomkin and is the theme to the film Friendly Persuasion. Jón bases his cover on the performance by Haukur Morthens from 1957, released as a B-side to the single Pep / Þér ég ann by Fálkinn Records. The song was released as part of his run-up to the album release.
Automatic motions (john)
Sounds a bit like if Paul McCartney was given a Korg M-20 and locked in a room for 6 months while stuck in his Wings era. Jón says: “I once wrote a song I thought was a very Paul McCartney-esque, so I named that song Paul. Then I realized I needed to be fair to the idols and wrote another song named John. I think this outcome resembles much more something by Harry Nilsson, so I’ve always called this the Harry Nilsson song.”
“This is the second phone recording on the album. Spooky!”
Another one of Jón’s previously released songs, hristan is an upbeat track about a shaker.
“Hristan is just a fun rock song where I sing about a shaker. But you can also interpret it as if you should shake it,” Jón explains.
Jón says that he wrote this Cat Stevens-like acoustic ballad shortly after the birth of his daughter. “She was born with black hair and blue eyes, which explains the ‘ebony’ part.” The song is about the newfound meaning you discover when having a child.
A simple love song
This track lists Jón’s previous band, Nolo, as the co-writer. “Me and my good friend Ívar Björnsson make up the duo Nolo. That band isn’t very active these days, but we meet every now and then for a jam. Even though we don’t meet for months, we are still able to write five songs every time. And I thought it was important to put one of them on the album. Maybe it will wake up an old ghost?”
This bossanova style beat has Jón singing soothingly “good night”. “This is the third phone recording which I thought was perfect to end the album on. Like the other phone recordings, I never expected it to end up on a record. I was putting my child to sleep and had the idea to sing a lullaby to a bossanova beat — now everybody at home can sing, too.”
‘Tracks up my sleeve’ is available to stream on Spotify, or to download via Bandcamp.
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