Absalom is the fourth full length release from Donovan Quinn (Skygreen Leopards / New Bums), and his first solo outing in seven years. Coming out of the psychedelic underground school of ’01, Quinn has slowly built an idiosyncratic catalogue that combines obsessive long-form metaphors and oblique arrangements with simple song structures.
As on previous albums, there is a consistent lyrical narrative that runs through shifting sonic spaces. Sparse singer-songwriter arrangements, outsider art piano ballads, loping numbers with a folk rock combo, and baroque pop string arrangements all find their way into the brew. Reuniting with frequent collaborators Ben Chasny, who mixed the record, Elisa Ambrogio, Jessica Roberts, Jason Quever, Michael Tapscott and Eric Amerman, Quinn recorded Absalom in several home and professional studios to achieve a veritable collage effect with instrumentation and musicians changing from song to song.
The idea for Absalom started with an abandoned project called “Fan Fiction,” intended to build songs based on the lore of other artists, as well as expanding on originals previously written by Quinn. Tucked away in the vaults are demos continuing the stories of characters from two Squeeze hits, Clarice Lispector’s Aqua Viva, Jozef Czapski’s lectures on Proust in a Soviet prison camp, Jackson C. Frank’s “Tumble In The Wind”, and the biblical story of Absalom. Bored by the limitations of the project, “Fan Fiction” was scraped, but the themes of familial dissolution and love in the Absalom story that provided a genesis for what became the Absalom album. Printed on the back of the LP sleeve are two quotes that provide a good starting point to the type of blues contained in therein.