Fascinator drops 'Skin Within', announces a headline tour and offers us a guide to the out-of-this-world experiences behind his experiential new record
The eclectic Australian-born, now New York-based artist FASCINATOR has just announced a series of headline East Coast dates this June surrounding his appearance at Hobart’s DARK MOFO festival. To celebrate, he’s also unveiled ‘Skin Within’, the second single from his forthcoming sophomore studio album, Water Sign.
‘Skin Within’ explores similar terrain as lead single, ‘Sex Crystals’, a swirling, psychedelic rout practically dripping with acid-house overtones that rides a constant pair of pulsating, complementary guitar and bass riffs throughout its entirety. Smatterings of woozy, filtered guitars, kaleidoscopic synth lines and organic percussion dispersed throughout the beat tap into the blissful Madchester aesthetics of THE STONE ROSES or Fascinator’s Australian contemporaries, JAGWAR MA. Playing around with textures, Fascinator contrasts this bliss against the relentless throb of the deep bass which, coupled with the persistence of the krautrock-flavoured beat and his stretched vocals wailing in the distance of the mix, tinge the track with a quiet sense of unease.
With its rich, wonderfully experimental textural layering and its whimsical willingness to play around with moods and sounds, ‘Skin Within’ builds up an alien terrain for the listener to lose themselves within, seemingly containing an entire planet within itself. If this is what Fascinator can achieve with one track, then we can’t wait to see what kind of rich, detailed sonic worlds he can build with the canvas of a full LP when he unveils Water Sign on July 15th. It’s a world which is easy to get lost in, but to help us explore and better understand this terrain, we’ve enlisted the help of Fascinator himself to offer us a guide to his own top five similarly out-of-this-world experiences, a sort of TripAdvisor to the experiences behind his experiential new LP.
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Out of this World Experience #1: The Medieval Commute.
I dressed as a medieval knight in full armour on the New York subway.
This was for my music video for 'The Traveller' off my last record. My friend Zoe White and I went down to a Brooklyn subway platform one morning and I quickly donned the armour before jumping in a carriage when she started filming.
I think we went about 10 stops up and back and it was crazy how few shits were given by other commuters. People were getting on and off and not batting an eyelid. They'd either just come from the Renaissance Faire or living in New York just desensitises you to all kinds of weirdness.
Out of this World Experience #2: Lord Meditator
Along with some friends, I performed a guided meditation I wrote in a rotunda at Sydney Festival with Megan Washington playing the role of God. There were confused families sitting on the grass snacking on fries behind a collection of dedicated meditators up the front, cross-legged with their eyes closed. I can't even remember how I ended up roping Megan into that, but I recall her having an appropriately soothing God voice.
Out of this World Experience #3: Stage Meditators
Speaking of meditating, last year I was DJing in Paris when I got invited to support The Avalanches at Paradiso in Amsterdam. It was a dream opportunity but I was travelling solo and was pretty sure the Paradiso stage might need a little filling up. So I hit up my Dutch friends Laura and Marlotte to see if we could work out something they could play or do for my set. After some deliberation we settled on the idea that they sit, elevated, facing the crowd and meditate for the whole gig. It gave the show a sort of spiritual vibe and they told me it was amazing closing their eyes to a pretty empty room then opening them at the end to a full one. I had to touch them on the shoulder at the end to let them know I'd finished and when I tried this idea again in LA one meditator had fallen asleep and fell right off the front of the stage when I tapped her at the end.
Out of this World Experience #4: Hollywood Forever
I was lucky enough to support Tame Impala at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, which is this crazy LA cemetery where all kinds of celebs like Judy Garland, Johnny Ramone and Jayne Mansfield are buried. Aside from regular Fascinator songs I also got to perform a cover of 'Nothing Compares 2 U' with Connan Mockasin, Stella Mozgawa of Warpaint and Kirin J Callinan. Later that night I partied with the owner and he tried to palm off one of the resident peacocks on to me and I had to tell him they were beautiful animals but I probably couldn't fly back to New York with one.
Out of this World Experience #5: The Dominican Republic
Fascinator has always had pretty niche fans and early on I was hit up to play a private party in The Dominican Republic. They had budget to fly a few of us out so I hit up three friends and told them we needed to make a band so we can go play in the DR. A dude holding a 'Fascinator' sign picked us up from the airport and they didn't hold back on the party with a giant trapeze in the swimming pool and naked people painted gold handing out strawberries. We were flown back to NYC the next day and I remember scratching my head that night wondering if it had really happened.
Water Sign is out Friday, July 15th via Spinning Top - you can pre-order it here.
Fascinator will be touring the East Coast behind his latest record - you can find all the details and purchase tickets below: