Unknown Mortal Orchestra are releasing a jazzy new Krautrock album this year
Unknown Mortal Orchestra are wrapping up an Australian tour behind their fourth album, Sex & Food but main man Ruban Nielson says that a follow-up is already on the way.
“Yeah, they’re probably pressing it now,” Neilson tells Double J’s Tim Shiel. “It’s coming out this year, I can’t think of the exact date right now but it’ll be announced at some point.”
The lightning fast sequel to Sex & Food, which was released in April, was recorded during globetrotting sessions for that album, made at studios in far-flung locales like Mexico City, Seoul, Reykjavik, and Auckland, in a bid for Nielson to escape the basement of his Portland home that birthed the band.
However, it was in Vietnam that Unknown Mortal Orchestra were at their most productive. Taking up residence at a vintage studio in the capital of Hanoi called Phu Sa Lab, the band finished off album highlight ‘Hunnybee’ (a song dedicated to Ruban’s daughter) but recorded a whole other album’s worth of material.
“There was so much extra stuff; I started going through it… I thought ‘this is really cohesive and there’s a lot of good playing on it’. So, thought, just put out an instrumental record.”
The frontman describes the impending instrumental album as closer to Krautrock and Miles Davis’ electric jazz period than any of their previous psych-soul and fuzz-rock odysseys.
“I’m really proud of it,” says Nielson. “It will be called Unknown Mortal Orchestra… but a lot of fans will probably find it a bit too weird.”
It’s also a family affair, featuring Ruban’s brother and regular UMO drummer Kody Nielson, as well as their jazz-musician father, Chris Nielson, whose horn work features on Sex & Food and its predecessor, 2015 album Multi-Love.
The album also features Minh Nguyen, a local Vietnamese musician the band befriended at Phu Sa Lab studios.
"We hung out with him. He started setting stuff up and we would just play. He’s all over the record and makes it sound really cool.”
Sex & Food is out now. Unknown Mortal Orchestra play Brisbane Festival this Saturday. More info here.