BLUE STATES, the lovely downbeatz project of Sussex’s Andy Dragazis, is following last year’s necessary and expanded repressing of his classic album Nothing Changes Under The Sun with another peek into the world of his new album, his sixth and also first in six years; come inside and twirl with the complex atmospheres of “Plain Sight”, with vocal duties capably handled by Bristolian folkie Rachael Dadd.
This new track shows that Andy has lost not a jot of his touch in producing beautiful, thoughtful electronica more than two decades into his career, while other contemporaries such as Air and Husky Rescue have long fallen away.
It also follows the halcyon grooves of last month’s announcing single, “Warning Signs”, although a very different creature: the addition of a multitracked Rachael Dadd, in close harmony with herself, pushes the song out into a new progressive folktronica direction, with no other direct precedents saving perhaps early Tuung, Trees and The Sallyangie; nuanced, pastoral.
Talking of the track and the new album – it’s called World Contact Day, more of which anon – Andy says: “Most of the album was recorded in lockdown 1.0 at my studio, Lightwell Studios, and “Plain Sight” was one of the earliest tracks I worked on in that period.
“I wanted to work with some vocalists for the record and had Rachael in mind when I was working on a few of the tracks. I always loved her voice and wanted to try and get her on the album.
“‘Plain Sight’ was written as a simple idea of escapism, to see other people I cared about or had lost but at the same time we were all hiding away.”
If you’re a kid of a certain age, then that album title will have caused a lightbulb moment about that Carpenters’ song, the classic but burdensomely titled “Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft (The Recognized Anthem Of World Contact Day)” – and you’d be on the right track; we’re told that the title was taken from two sources: the first of which is March 15th, the day on which the International Flying Saucer Bureau tries to contact alien lifeforms. Andy says he felt like he was trying to contact alien lifeforms while recording some of the album over video calls; detached, alienated.
It’s also taken from a lyric in that song, of course it is: “I was obsessed by the track when I was a kid after I first heard it on the radio late one night,” he explains. “I was under the duvet with my radio and it came on a local radio station.
“The talk radio bit at the start totally freaked me out and I was convinced it was real and aliens had called in the radio station. I listened to the whole track in awe and listening to it now it still has a profound effect on me. Everything I like about music is in that song, escapism, mystery, joy, unease, strings, horns and the best ever guitar solo that I can actually play!”
“Plain Sight” is the opening track on World Contact Day and is one of two to feature Rachael.
Blue States’ World Contact Day will be released by Memphis Industries digitally, on CD and on cream vinyl on March 18th; you can get your order in now.