People tell you to never judge a book by its cover. Those people are wrong, because you definitely can often should judge books by their covers. That, after all, is what the covers are there for. In a similar fashion, you should always judge records by their titles, because albums with bad titles are probably going to bad. Philippe Hallais' first LP under his own name—you'll probably know him better as Low Jack —comes adorned with one of 2017' best names to date: An American Hero.
A sprawling, unabashedly experimental record, An American Hero —which arrives in every decent record shop on June 9th, via the esteemed and ever-reliable Modern Love imprint—sees Hallais delving deep into the national psyche of a country that often transfers hopes, fears, doubts, anxieties, and pleasures onto high-performance athletes. It is a dark, brutal, and stark rendering of where and what America is in the age of Trump.
Combining Greek tragedy with the recordings of ESPN documentaries, Hallais constructs a hellish aural narrative out of the televised narratives of sports stars—lives reduced to little more than a series of sequences, each folding neatly into the before and after. This is an album that scrapes, creaks, clanks, howls, hovers, drifts, drones, disorientates, and dislocates, an LP where the avant-garde and the ambient coalesce, where the boundary between the club and the galley dissipates.
The record comes accompanied by a series of (very) short films by French director, Ethan Assouline, all of which are dreamy, gauzy, internal wanderings around the liminal spaces of self-reflection that Hallais' album conjures. Check them out here .
We are delighted to be bringing you an exclusive full listen to an album that's as beautiful as it is challenging. Stream it in full below.
An American Hero is released by Modern Love on June 9th.