on valentines day, 2019, i was in bed with my girlfriend, in a hotel room in seattle, tripping on mushrooms. i was showing her bits and pieces of the album in its then unfinished form. at the time it was going to be called “i hope you meet everything you fear.” i guess it still could be. but as i was hearing the songs outside of my own ego, i began to see a pattern. or more so a person. a boy. a boy who had tried really hard for a long time to fill a space in his heart. a boy who didn’t know how to be alone, but regardless spent most of his time floating in his own head. a boy who really, really wanted to experience love — a majestic love, an epic love. and in the end, a boy who didn’t have anything to prove anymore.

it’s been a challenging couple years for me. i’ve had expectations shattered, relationships fail. i’ve felt the mortality of my own body. i’ve been hurt and caused hurt. i’ve spiraled into periods of substance abuse. but along the way i’ve sidled up to myself. i’ve been able to look in the mirror with more grace and be ok with who i see there, with all his flaws and imperfections.

some of these songs are very old. someone told me once that songwriters are like prophets (though he said you should never say that in an interview. sorry john). we’re meant to see things that others can’t. sometimes those “others” are ourselves. there are songs on this record that I wrote years ago, without really grasping their meaning until now. my therapist says art is the self talking to the self. i guess i was trying to get a message across, cast out into the sea of songs like a message in a shipwrecked bottle.

i imagine this album as a sci-fi movie, where a man travels through the infinite darkness of space, alone in his ship. he eventually goes mad, is visited by some interstellar being of light who bestows on him a revelation. he falls into a dream state and makes love with an angel and is made whole for a moment. later he wakes up, alone in his cockpit, with that sort of sad but beautiful certainty that comes from accepting one’s aloneness.

this record is deeply personal. it’s about love, it’s about failure, it’s about drugs, it’s about sex, it’s about age, it’s about regret, it’s about itself (very meta, i know) and it’s about finding peace. i think it’s the most i’ve ever put of myself into something. it’s been cathartic. i’ve cried a lot.

my close friend and producer andy park also poured his soul into this record. we spent 2 years, mostly in his apartment, carving away at it. sometimes it felt like we had poured a slab of concrete, with the blind faith that somewhere inside was a beautiful sculpture. this is just as much his record as it is mine. also shoutout to his lovely girlfriend tess for letting me invade their space constantly and making them miss game of thrones because of last minute mix recalls.

to all the people in these songs, i love you. i’m sorry for the hurt i’ve caused.

and to you, the listener, i hope you find a space for this record. i hope it moves you. i hope above all that it can remind you to be kind to yourself, to find patience and grace.

“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”

– Isaac Newton

The brainchild of Matthew Logan Vasquez (Delta Spirit), Glorietta was born out of a desire to collaborate with friends that Vasquez has collected over the last ten years. Those friends; Noah Gundersen, Kelsey Wilson (Wild Child), David Ramirez, Grammy award winner Adrian Quesada (Brownout, Black Pumas), and Jason Robert Blum came together over the course of nine-day recording session in a rented house in Glorieta, NM – just outside of Santa Fe.  “We chose Santa Fe because it was isolated enough to where it would feel like we were at camp” said Vasquez, “the only requirements were that the house had vaulted ceilings and a Jacuzzi.”  The players were all connected in one-way or another, some of them old friends, some of them meeting for the first time when they arrived.  The days were long with the tape running constantly as the players brought ideas for songs in various stages of completion to their new family of collaborators.  Mid way through the sessions the group was joined by a guest appearance from Nathaniel Rateliff who drove straight through the night to join the party.  The result is a their self-titled debut record; a beautiful mix of voices from six band leaders that fit perfectly together like a low-fidelity puzzle.  Their self-titled album will be available everywhere in the summer of 2018.

In America today, anyone can engage in spiritual surrender. Performing the rite is simple: one first gathers with their community in a room of mirrors (in peripheral vision these mirrors appear as windows). Next, the agendas, hopes, and grievances of each individual are written down and cast along pulsed radio frequencies to data centers. From here they are automatically sifted through a neural network of graphics processing units, and contributed to an artificial intelligence engine. The principal aim of the ritual is to preserve the cosmic movement of collective perception. Secondary aims include catharsis, prosperity, and (occasionally) procreation. Because of the persistence of social stresses and mounting political dread, the ritual’s cyclic performance is necessary (twice daily, once at dusk and once at dawn).

Paradoxically, even those who question the efficacy of this tradition must do so from within the same framework, in the form of status updates, tweets, or blog posts. In the early part of 2017 Noah wrote:

“This is our voice. The Aether. An invisible platform. A maze of wires and boxes safely containing our proclamations… While white men with pens close their doors, stuff their ears with cotton, and break the world… we piss in the ocean… we drown in white noise.”

(Once upon a time, Noah Gundersen poetically sang that the storms which make us tremble also “fill our organs up with air,”…allowing us to sing “honest songs”. What of our songs now? Are they just piss in the ocean? White Noise?)

A longtime fan responded via Facebook, referring to the entry as “a goddamn dumpster fire of a post”.

“Your early records are masterpieces,” he commented, “…but this scramble to be anything but what your parents are is killing your authenticity.”

Authenticity can be a fickle mistress it seems. Noah has been peddling sincerity and introspection in musical form for almost a decade; songs that give listeners a taste of the emotional nectar in the pit of another human’s gut. He’s been dredging up viscous fistfulls of his own being and shaping them into little waxen votives, candles meant to illuminate the territory between shameless confession and hopeless redemption, for all of the other twenty-somethings who’ve been groping around in that long existential shadow.

At some point this whole process must have lost its charm. It was two years ago that Noah, like some artistic ouroboros, began to sing the words “Am I earning the right to live by looking in a mirror? There’s nothing more sincere than selfish art?” The cyclic ritual of self-induced nausea, staring in the mirror mouth agape, waiting to wretch new words and sounds, was catching up with him. Not long after, in the early part of 2016, he sat down for a show and felt like he was dying.
“Instead of my life up to that point flashing before my eyes, it was my future. A future playing songs I didn’t believe in… pouring my soul out into a vehicle I no longer recognized or loved.”

Noah turned to a fellow songwriter, who shared this mote of reassurance from dancer and choreographer Martha Graham:

“No artist is pleased… There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

This crisis was an opportunity for the serpent to relinquish hold of its own tail, for forward motion. To turn his gaze away from reflection, and maybe instead at the mirror itself, alternate voices and distorted perceptions that throw their weight onto the human psyche in powerful ways, but evade expression in introspective storytelling.

So, that’s White Noise, I think: the fluorescent glow of queer divine dissatisfaction. The distorted buzz manufactured by dumb metal phalluses thrust into a vacuum of waves and signals. It doesn’t dwell on (and in fact seems uninterested in) introspection. Not a guiding light. Not the reasoned problem-solving of the ego, but the muddled demands of the id. It’s a myriad of interpolated signals, symbols, and voices, like a tube-TV greedily flipping through channels on auto-program:

“Heavy Metals” is cosmic dismay that’s been pasted over with a sugary synth veneer. “Cocaine, Sex, and Alcohol (From a Basement in L.A.)”, like a messy public broadcast, leverages a din of drunken band sounds and disoriented muttering, “I’ve got all this alcohol… do you wanna see my show?”

The decadent yearning of “Bad Desire” sits between the other songs of dissolution like a soap opera broadcasting alongside the evening news. Just as Noah finishes crooning the final honey-sweet chorus, “…and I wanna see you tonight, one last time,” we transition into night sweats, the frantic yelling of sleep terrors, all heralding the cathartic industrial funeral dirge of “Wake Me Up, I’m Drowning”.

Noah is no longer lighting votives, but dumpster fires—big, bright, symbolic and chaotic. Musical vignettes of combustion, rubbish, degeneracy and, perhaps most comfortingly, warmth; because sometimes overlooked in the mad grasping for heady, introspective Authenticity is music that’s heartfelt. In “The Sound”, Noah scourges a source of entitlement that is entirely ambiguous, but does so with a sort of exasperated conviction that is only ever reserved for one’s nation, one’s God, or one’s self. The words “How many times will you shit on what you’re given? How many times till you shut up and listen?” escape his throat with a desperation that (bafflingly) surpasses even his most vulnerable songs about heartbreak, addiction, or loss of faith.

Whether the voices he channels are symbolic or literal, paralyzed with fear or pushing a manic brand of salvation, each amounts to something laced with warm, ruddy veins (I have a feeling that Noah’s music always will). If you listen closely you’ll hear the spiritualist, who takes solace in the fact that when he’s gone, the water in his body may be the beginning of something new. There’s also the doomsayer, certain of his fate, but still so afraid, who can’t help but ask of his own violent trembling, “Are these my feet attempting to dance?” Then there’s mortality, trying to shout through all of the noise, “Send my love to everyone.”

White Noise was produced by Nate Yaccino and features long-time band-members and collaborators Abby Gundersen, Jonny Gundersen, and Micah Simler.

Two years after the release of his highly acclaimed LP Carry The Ghost, Seattle native NOAH GUNDERSEN is ready to debut his newest body of work entitled White Noise  on  September 22, 2017 through Cooking Vinyl. As the first introduction to the bolder sound on his third studio LP, Gundersen has unveiled a lyric video of "The Sound," which is out now through all streaming platforms. Pre-order the album or stream "The Sound" here.
When asked about "The Sound," Gundersen noted the inspiration came from "waiting for the muse, remembering how it was, how the spark used to seem so immediate in that magic."
"White Noise is a sensory overload," Gundersen explains. "Fear, anxiety, desire, sex, lust, love. White Noise is the place between waking and dreaming, where the edges blur and the light is strange. It's a car crash, it’s a drowning, it's everything all the time."

The conception of White Noise started long before Gundersen stepped into his homemade studio, nestled inside a 1600 square foot loft on the marina in Seattle, Washington. "At the beginning of 2016, I walked on stage and was met with a feeling of overwhelming emptiness," Gundersen revealed. "I imagined a career playing music I didn’t believe in and was terrified." After his set, a fellow songwriter expressed a quote to Gundersen from famed choreographer, Martha Graham: "No artist is ever pleased… There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others." From there, something awoke in Gundersen that can now be best described as the 13 tracks that embody White Noise.

For fans of Noah Gundersen during the era of albums like Ledges (February 2014) and Carry The Ghost (August 2015), White Noise  finds Gundersen in a variety of headspaces, with anthemic rock choruses in "The Sound" to piano ballads in "New Religion," but still holding true to his in-depth and hyper-aware style of songwriting that first established Gundersen as having the "soul of a wise, grizzly rocker" (Rolling Stone).
To promote White Noise, Gundersen will be embarking on a full North American headline tour this Fall with support from Phoebe Bridgers from November 2 (Houston TX – The Heights Theater) to November 17 (Seattle, WA – Neptune Theatre).