Norman Westberg relaxes the only way he knows how: announces new solo album on Room40 and unleashes new video

Norman Westberg relaxes the only way he knows how: announces new solo album on Room40 and unleashes new video
Photo: Daniel Murtagh

For whatever reason, the man pictured above just doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who’d be terribly happy spending his time just chillaxin’ shirtless on a whitesand beach and slurping beer from a foam dome after his departure from SWANS. In fact, if Norman Westberg ever smiles at all (and that’s a pretty big IF), it’s probably when he’s intensely focused on MAKING THINGS with those sweaty and calloused guitar-fingers of his.

Accordingly, Westberg’s first full-length solo effort following the demise of SWANS in its current incarnation, After Vacation, is being billed as both “the first record to see Westberg move beyond a more performative mode of single take composition” and a significant expansion of his usual sonic palate.

“He opens up the tonal and harmonic possibilities of his instrument in unexpected and profoundly beautiful ways,” writes Room40’s Lawrence English, who produced the record. “His guitar, as singular source, becomes transformed through a web of outboard processes. He transforms vibrating strings completely, taking singular gesture and reshapes it through webs of delay, reverb and other treatments.”

Or, to hear Westberg’s take on it:

This is the first recording that was not done in my “one take; it is what it is” method. For me, this was like jumping into the pool with a blindfold on! Due to this shift, fter Vacation is something of a collaborative record with the very capable and caring Lawrence English, acting as producer for the sessions; taking my sounds and weaving them into finished pieces. I listen to them more as stand-alone stories, rather than my usual style of bouncing conversation. The title “After Vacation” came from the feeling that something was changing. Not that playtime was over, just that last week was fun and all, but now is a good time to move around into something more realized.

Speaking of “something more realized,” you can check out a first taste of After Vacation down below, courtesy of the haunting new video clip for album track “Soothe the String.” It’s, uhh…basically the exact opposite of a frivolous, sun-drenched day at the beach.

The full album is due July 13 on Room40. Head here to pre-order it now…and think of Westberg the next time you’ve got some downtime on your hands and think that maybe “just taking it easy” is ever gonna get you anywhere new.

After Vacation tracklisting:

01. Soothe The String
02. Drops In A Bucket
03. Sliding Sledding
04. Norman Seen As An Infant
05. Levitation
06. After Vacation

Most Read