Aaron Hemphill Announces Debut Album As Nonpareils




Photo: Nonpareils
Aaron Hemphill has announced details of his debut solo album, Scented Pictures. Released under the name Nonpareils, these are his first recordings since an amicable departure from Liars in 2016.Nonpareils Scented Pictures is out on April 6 via Mute.

Listen to the first track, “The Timeless Now,” here. Preorder Scented Pictures here.

Hemphill explains, "Basically I wanted a name that didn't evoke a single person or a producer name, but hopefully something that sounded more like a group or a band... something plural. ‘The Timeless Now’ feels like the most distilled track to communicate this intended illusion." 

The songs on Scented Pictures, recorded by Hemphill in Berlin, are directly inspired by concepts relating to memories, or more accurately the sensory experience of memory. The tracks brim with poppy ideas and lush color, yet their structures aim at defying logic, filtering the songs into strange new psychedelic corners. Hemphill believes that encouraging the brain to fill-in the gaps in something — be it a piece of music or a specific memory — leads to an amplified, more vivid experience for the listener. The snippets of sound and image inside Scented Pictures’ songs were mostly culled from the musician’s own memory and tinted by his entry into a new solo phase in his career.

The songwriting displayed on Scented Pictures is metaphysically restructured pop, the wealth of sounds and sonic processes at Hemphill’s disposal having diversified and warped since Mess, his final studio album with Liars.

Based in Berlin since 2015, Hemphill started working on Scented Pictures by recording stacks of acoustic instruments while, in his words, “doing the silliest things.” He played drums without click tracks, encouraged his engineer to distract him, and played the piano while allowing poorly set-up microphones to fall away from the body of the instrument. Ultimately the sound palette grew out further, taking in a vast array of virtual instrumentation too, all glitched and processed into off-kilter music.

Having sought out new sources of inspiration following a long period of focusing solely on instrumental music, Scented Pictures sees Hemphill’s songwriting take on yet another new form, mutating into something woozier and increasingly abstract — without sacrificing the hooks in the process.

When the album was completed, it sounded more to Hemphill like an album made by an obscure group rather than a lone producer. Hoping to further emphasise this idea, the name Nonpareils was preferred over simply Aaron Hemphill. The confusingly written and pronounced Nonpareils (pronounced "non-perils" in American-English, known as Hundreds and Thousands in the UK) in fact refers to candy dots often sprinkled onto cheap candy — “to make it more exciting” as Hemphill says. Notably, the French translation of nonpareil is “unparalleled,” “which I found quite nice for such a cheap candy,”jokes Hemphill.

1. I Can’t Feel The Freeze Or Fade (Intro)
2. The Timeless Now
3. Cherry Cola
4. Ditchglass, They Think
5. Invisible Jets
6. Makes Me Miss The Misery Girls
7. Scented Pictures
8. Press Play
9. The Fever That Goes Up And Down
10. Fast Hat, Main Hat
11. Most Boys