After the 2011 release of Terra, his third full-length in as many years, Julian Lynch decided he needed to really focus on school. For the past few years, the New Jersey native (and Real Estate associate) has been juggling his pursuit of a PhD in ethnomusicology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a fledgling career as bedroom pop auteur. "That's actually part of why it's taken me so long with this record," he says of his next, "90 percent done," still untitled LP, due tenatively in April on Underwater Peoples. "But I'm done with coursework now and for the first time, during the academic year, I feel like I’m actively booking shows. It’s a reflection of the fact that I have a little more time on my hands."
Time, Lynch says, is a luxury he's never had when writing and recording. "In that way, I think the process has been a departure," he explains. "I’ve never worked this long on a record. As soon as I finish recording one, I’ll usually give it to the label and then it'll be on its way to being released. Whereas, with this one, most of it has been done for so long that I've had a while to sit on it and decide whether or not I like all the things on it as much as I thought I did. As it turns out, I'm going to throw away pretty huge chunks of it."
After finishing about roughly 40 minutes of music in the spring, Lynch left to conduct several months worth of grant-assisted fieldwork in India, research centered around the relationships between large-scale religious musical festivals and issues both political and social. Upon returning to Wisconsin in October, he thinks he's been able to engage his own songwriting in new ways. "I’ve been giving it to people," he says with a laugh. "And people have been responding pretty positively to it. Once I was done with a record, I would normally just send it to the label. And usually, I don’t play recorded songs live until after the record has been released, but this one I've been playing the songs live and getting to know the songs as well, getting to know the songs through the way other people are playing them, people who have played in the various bands I’ve played in. I haven’t gone back and revised tracks based on that, but it's given me a different perspective on what the album is actually like."
Though recorded entirely in his Madison apartment (save for a few drum tracks at a friend's place) on eight-track cassette with less bouncing than before, it's arguably Lynch's clearest and most complete effort to date, free of tape hiss but teeming with new, closely arranged (and, like the rest of the affair) edited instrumentation. "A lot of people think there are saxophone parts on Terra and on [2009's] Orange You Glad, but it’s actually clarinet and bass clarinet," Lynch says. "But I have now a saxophone, so for the first time there are saxophone parts. And I just got a Moog synthesizer last year so that's almost everwyhwere. A lot of these tracks, actually, are built around what the horns are doing as well. Which makes me feel good, because I’m a horn player and I'm a clarinetist, and I like to have my clarinet sound more prominent and natural, which is cool."