PREMIERE: Ross Goldstein Makes Collaboration Magisterial on “Inverted Jenny” LP
The New York musician builds a wall of sound in the Catskills.
Ross Goldstein is no stranger to collaboration—he’s plied his trade with Devin Gary & Ross, among others—but for his second solo record, entitled Inverted Jenny, he decamped to his home in the Catskills and invited a few friends to drop by when they were in the neighborhood.
The result doesn’t sound like what you might imagine. While there are shades of the woodsy rural soul of Bon Iver, and Goldstein’s vocals occasionally hush into Elliott Smith territory, these are bright, big songs made of complex arrangements. They bend like a marching band rounding a corner—slowly, with great precision, the sound shifting along with the shape of the formation. That the album was pieced together via a series of one-on-one sessions and not with the entire cavalcade working under Goldstein’s direction seems like a miracle of editing.
But the record’s bigness is a stark contrast with its subject matter: namely, what do we do between the big and complicated moments of our lives? What does it mean to live an ordinary life, particularly when life itself seems to be defined by extraordinary events? These are piquant questions in the best of days, but they take on a different kind of character in an age as confusing as ours.
Perhaps the record’s genesis myth is answer enough, which is to say, maybe the whole equation is backwards; maybe the big moments don’t define the smaller moments, but it’s the character of the smaller moments that create the conditions for the larger ones. That’s the case with Inverted Jenny, an album of small, purposefully composed moments that build into something much greater.
You can give the entirety of Inverted Jenny below, and pick up a copy via Northern Spy when the album drops tomorrow, August 11.