30-06-2024 Music 252

Fred Abong - Listening

Fred Abong - Listening

Modern-day American crooner-philosopher Fred Abong shares 'Listening', the latest audio-visual offering from his new 'Blindness' album. Released via Moochin' About Records. this third single from the album rounds out the album's sonic landscape. Following the drama-rock of 'Heaven' and the quasi-dance vibe of the title track 'Blindness', this new single adds a vaguely 80’s romanticism, somewhat in a Blue Nile vein.

Now based in New Orleans, Abong is no stranger to the US music scene, having got his musical start in the 1980’s on the Rhode Island hardcore punk scene. In the early 1990s, he played bass for Throwing Muses and then Belly. Putting music on hold for academic pursuits, he then earned a PhD in Humanities and taught at various universities for eight years before returning to music. Now back as a solo artist, Abong also plays bass in the Kristin Hersh Electric Trio. He has also been a practicing Vedic astrologer for the past 20 plus years.

“'Listening' was actually the first song written for this album. It’s a chord progression and keyboard/piano sound that I feel has been lurking in my consciousness for a long time. It really did kinda write itself … the only impediment was my ineptitude on the piano, which took some time to correct. At the time of writing this, I had just purchased my first keyboard of any kind - a full size MIDI controller in this case. As soon as I hooked it up to Logic and started messing around with the plugins, I could feel all these latent songs beginning to wake up, to "show their faces". The songs came quickly, though not necessarily easily, as my piano skills, as I mentioned, were fairly rudimentary," explains Fred Abong.

"Making the video was much easier. I shot it in about an hour in my garage. Somehow it seemed the proper setting for the song. Turns out a garage is a good place to listen, to hear things in an unfamiliar way. It’s also a great place to take your favorite shovel for a spin."

A Filipino-American singer-songwriter, Abong's music has a raw and unpolished production aesthetic with an overall direct, though deceptively imaginative and oblique, presentation. Taking a detour from the musical road most traveled, Abong wrote the material for this album on the piano rather than bass or guitar, effectively opening up a new compositional and emotional space for him.

Between the bookends of the new 'Blindness' album and 'Homeless', the first set of songs as a solo artist, originally self-released in 2018, Abong has released several critically acclaimed records, including his self-recorded 2023 'Fear Pageant' and earlier albums 'Yellowthroat', 'Pulsing' and 'Our Mother of Perpetual Help'.

"I’ve actually gotten some feedback that the entire 'Blindness' LP sounds like a ‘departure’ from what I’ve done up to this point in my solo work. But from my perspective, it’s just another dimension of songwriting, which for me is not about finding a ‘style’ and sticking with it. I’m more interested in staying wide open to whatever shows up when there’s an instrument, familiar or unfamiliar, in my hands," says Abong.

"I’ve been listening to and "studying" a wide variety of musical forms my entire life, and so I guess I have also been unconsciously ‘composing’, too. And waiting for the moment or moments when those compositions would present themselves."

On July 5, the 'Blindness' album will be released everywhere digitally (including Apple Music and Spotify) and on CD. For now, it can be downloaded exclusively via Bandcamp, where the pre-order is now available for the CD, coupled together with Abong's 'Homeless' album as a bonus.

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