Ancient History

 

Thursday 14th February 2013
ancient-history-promo

In the summer of 2007, Donald Ducote left his hometown of Phoenix for Brooklyn, where he formed and fronted a “5-piece genre-bending cacophony” of an indie rock outfit called My Sister in 1994. They soon became a fixture on the DIY scene in Bushwick, performing at venues like Market Hotel and the Asterisk*, and attracting moderate attention from European independent labels. For their final record together, Monitor, Ducote invited Jim Smith (The National, Au Revoir Simone), a regular at the coffee shop he managed at the time, to work on the record at Saltlands in Brooklyn. Ducote was ultimately unsatisfied with the record, primarily because of the sterile studio environment in which it was recorded. On top of that, Ducote became the victim of the dangerously unstable obsessions of the label owner’s girlfriend, which led to the termination of the tentative contract and eventually the end of the band itself. 

As his next relationship dissolved in a drawn-out mess of disappointment and duplicity, his songwriting took a more personal bent, focusing more on relationships than he ever had in the past. His new songs married the poetically strung-out catharsis of his long-admired Elliott Smith with the vivid kitchen-sink minutiae of Belle & Sebastian. He and Jim Smith reconnected about making another record, with a completely different approach to capturing the sound that eluded them during the Monitor sessions. 

To do so, Ducote and Smith decided to return to the home-recording style Ducote had employed on his second My Sister album, In Tall Cotton. They brought an impromptu studio setup to the French Kicks’ rehearsal space which included a twelve-track tape recorder and Jimi Hendrix’s original vocal microphone from his famed Electric Lady Studios. They enlisted Paul Johnson (Beirut) to play bass and mix the record, and guitarist Austin Lemieux to fill out the sound under the moniker Ancient History

Over the next year and a half, Ducote was commissioned by Universal/Polydor to consult on songwriting with UK’s Must Be The Music 2011 winner Emma Gillespie. That trip also led to working with UK’s X-Factor 2007 winner, Leon Jackson. Simultaneously, Ducote worked with Smith to record the eleven songs that he termed “late-night red-wine-and-reefer music”. The result is a collection of indie/lo-fi/slowcore mix of heroin-slow tempos, pure analog warmth, delicate dream-pop guitar drones, improvised percussion, and Ducote’s captivatingly detailed confessionals full of ex-lovers, disappointment, disillusionment, physical breakdown and “loss, loss, loss.” The album, titled Tracks, will see its official release on January 29, 2013. 

Former My Sister in 1994 frontman and international songwriter Donald Ducote has returned to the lo‐fi music scene with his new project, Ancient History.

With My Sister in 1994, Ducote wrote, composed and released three albums, which ultimately led to being commissioned by Universal/Polydor as a songwriting consultant. He headed to England to work with Emma Gillespie (UK’s Must Be The Music 2011 winner) on her debut record under the moniker, Emma’s Imagination. During that same trip, he also worked on songs with Leon Jackson (UK’s X Factor 2007 winner). Upon returning from London, he took the next two years to focus on writing his own material, which resulted in Tracks; that has been described as an ornate, atmospheric album rewarding multiple listens to sift through the layers and pick out all the pieces. The arrangements enhance the mood with carefully controlled chaos. Ducote’s story‐telling narratives of past loss, despair, and heartache play keenly against a mix of heroin‐slow tempos, delicate dream‐pop guitar drones, improvised percussion and pure analog warmth. 

The 11‐song collection of inspired indie/lo‐fi/slowcore sound was engineered by Jim Smith (The National and Au Revoir Simone) and mixed by Paul Johnson (bassist of Beirut) and Kevin Blackler (Sony, Blackler Mastering). To record Tracks, Ducote along with Smith, decided to use a home‐recording style Ducote previously employed on his second record with My Sister in 1994 titled In Tall Cotton. To accomplish this, the two developed a studio setup in unconventional recording spaces including the French Kicks’ practice space, art galleries, and friends’ apartments, with a twelve‐track tape recorder and Jimi Hendrix’s original vocal microphone from his famed Electric Lady Studios. 

The album is available on CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Spotify. “Tracks is well recommended” ‐ Lee Zimmerman, No Depression For more information on Tracks and Ancient History, please visit www.ancienthistorynyc.com 

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