As Eric Elbogen’s music has slowly morphed from understated bedroom disco-sadness to sprawling electro-instrumental soundscapes over the past 20 years of Say Hi releases, one aspect of his 12 recordings remains fairly consistent: a respect for the album format. Whether it’s the (incidentally) early-Twilight era of vampire obsession shading his concept-ish 2006 LP Impeccable Blahs or a more general uniformity in sound that carries throughout each color-coded album, even if one of his tracks does become a hit in Sweden it still sounds most at home nestled away on a Say Hi tracklist.
Which makes it hard to condense his influences down to a set of 12 songs for a general “inspirations” playlist (we do appreciate him not just sending us 12 tracks from the same album) to commemorate the recent release of his twelfth record, Elocution Prattle. “I’m a full-record-at-once kinda guy,” Elbogen shares. “Like, how do you listen to ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’ without it being followed by ‘Here Comes the Sun,’ as intended? And then there’s the thing where it actually does a good job exposing some of your personality, which is kind of the point here, but quite antithetical to my ultimate desire to cloak my true personality in as many layers of absurdity as I can, lest you get a real glimpse at my eternal fallibility.”
Beginning this week, you can attempt to catch a glimpse of that eternal fallibility (you may need to squint) when Elbogen sets off on a North American living room tour in support of the new synth-based instrumental LP. In anticipation of that voyage, this playlist—which, he notes, has very little in common with the new record—serves as a sample of “the greater works and catalogs I tend to check in with before, during, and after I’m making one of my own records.”
Clarifying, he continues: “These check-ins aren’t so much intended to focus on notes, chord progressions, or lyrics, but rather to pose questions like: Does what I’m working on have a greater, lesser or equal amount of (A) whimsy (B) swagger (C) weirdness (D) [a] dream-like quality (E) raw energy (F) general magic (G) swing (H) imperfection? You’ll note, too, that most of these songs lack any synthesizers at all, which I guess is weird considering I’m trying to spread the word about the aforementioned all-instrumental-mega-synthesizer-record I’ve just put out. This weirdness is perhaps amplified even further by the fact that I’m about to do an un-amplified, acoustic North American living room tour.”