Michael Benjamin Lerner, the multi-instrumentalist and songwriter behind TELEKINESIS, is our esteemed curator for the month of June, spotlighting Pavement’s Brighten the Corners LP. This past September saw the release of his fourth and latest album, Ad Infinitum: a noted departure from his power pop roots into a more synthesized realm of analog keyboards and electronic sounds.
Ahead of Lerner’s appearance at last month’s Sasquatch Music Festival, he fielded a few questions from us on Pavement, collecting vinyl, his listening set-up, Ad Infinitum and what’s on tap for the future.
How were you introduced to Brighten the Corners?
You know, I think I was introduced to this record when I was at university in Liverpool, England. This would have been around 2006, I believe.
A friend, named Lucy, was kind of obsessed with Stephen Malkmus. I was only really sort of familiar with the older records, but her favorite Pavement record was Brighten The Corners, so she let me borrow it, and I just fell really hard for the record. It’s that perfect mix of the Pavement thing, with a little more hi-fi recording and fleshed out songs.
How did you get started collecting vinyl?
I’ve always been fond of records, and have been lucky enough to inherit a lot of them from my Dad. He was a DJ on the radio during the time when they switched over from LP’s to CD’s, so he (very smartly) took a lot of ridiculously great records home for free, and I inherited those when I got old enough to care about collecting and listening.
I also worked at a record store for many years, and there, it becomes a ‘spend half your money on records’ sort of thing. You could take it directly out of your paycheck, which was so dangerous.
Vinyl has just always seemed like the best medium for me. It’s finicky for sure, but I think once you get your setup dialed, it’s really the most pure way to listen to music. I still love how artwork looks on a 12” record.
Your new Instagram @arecordadaykeepsthedoctoraway cycles through your extensive vinyl collection, one LP at a time. Are you finding records you forgot about? New favorites?
I’m only at B right now, but man, it’s been really fun. Great to connect with old favorites, and find a bunch of new records that I had no idea I had!
I’ve been really into a bunch of jazz stuff my Dad’s Dad passed down. These two John Abercrombie records on ECM were really great.
I also hadn’t really listened to ‘Smile’ by the Beach Boys all the way through, and that’s a fascinating listen. Staggeringly good.
I also connected with Afghan Whigs ‘Black Love’, a record I hadn’t really listened to, as I was so into ‘Gentleman’. So that’s been fun!
What is your current listening set-up?
I had always had an aversion to synth-based music, but your latest record, Ad Infinitum completely turned that around for me. Have you ever had a similar experience with a record/sound?
Wow! That’s an incredibly wonderful compliment, thank you so much for saying so!
Yeah, that’s happened for sure. I mean, for truths sake, I wasn’t always into synth music, but I think I only recently got into it.
There’s this band OMD, and they really marry the two worlds of synth / rock very well. I really got into that heavily before making Ad Infinitum, and I think that informed that sound of my record quite a lot.
If it isn’t too soon to ask, what’s on the horizon musically?
Starting to think about writing another Telekinesis record! It’s exciting! I’m not quite sure where this one is going to go, but I’m thinking it probably won’t be as outwardly synthy, but maybe more of a marriage of the first Telekinesis records, with a mix of this new one too. We shall see!
Sign up by June 15th to receive Brighten the Corners on vinyl along with Michael Lerner’s exclusive track-by-track synopsis.
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