Luke Bern Carr
The new album, Have Had, out now.
listen + buy on bandcamp
September 4, 2020 - BLR-005
Have Had is available digitally wherever music is sold or streamed via Bernlore.
On September 4, 2020, Luke Bern Carr’s second album, Have Had - which Carr wrote, performed, recorded, mixed, and mastered entirely himself - will be released on Carr’s newly-established label, Bernlore. The album serves as Carr’s return, reinvention, and continued exploration as a solo musical artist, and is his most honest attempt at a solo endeavor to date.
Whether for his narrative-based multimedia project, Storming the Beaches with Logos in Hand, or for his unique songwriting prowess as heard on the album Pigrow (which debuted in 2013 featuring John Dieterich of Deerhoof and was hailed as “utterly mind-blowing” by the Santa Fe Reporter), Carr has asserted himself as a powerhouse musician and artist who is steadily making waves in his home-base of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and far beyond.
Following Pigrow and STBWLIH, Carr found himself longing for a change, and embedded himself in collaborations with musicians, filmmakers, dancers and other artists in an effort to explore and refine his skills as a musician, producer, filmmaker and ultimately, as a storyteller. Carr, speaking of his forthcoming album, says: “While Have Had certainly began from the ashes of a broken relationship, it grew into a larger thesis on the rapidly changing world I was struggling to find my place in. I like to think that any good break-up album becomes more about finding oneself rather than belaboring what was lost.”
Carr began writing Have Had in early 2016 after an especially painful break-up that foiled his plans to relocate to Canada. By the end of the year he found himself in Standing Rock, North Dakota, with his camera and audio recorder, documenting the stories of protesters. Upon leaving Standing Rock on Election Day, 2016, Carr found himself stranded in a shifted and shocked America. Weaving his personal grieving process with that of the nation’s, Carr began honing in on a collection of songs that explored the nuances of change in a personal, national and global sense, delving into this theme on both a micro and macro level.
The songs on Have Had excavate incredibly dark places and yet, by way of Carr’s idiosyncratic and intelligent composition, manage to stay grounded in a sense of hope. “There was a lot of raw, dark, and cold music coming out when I started writing this album, but by the time I got to mixing years later, I had worked through so much of that turmoil that I ultimately wanted to wrap the songs in warmer, more inviting tones, as if to ultimately say, ‘everything is going to be ok’ - for myself, and for the listener.”
From the powerful sonic colors of its opening track “Qualia Leaf” to the nostalgic hook-driven anthem of the title-track closer “Have Had”, the album marks a staggering evolution of Carr’s songwriting, moving briskly through subjects of the psychoanalytical, the philosophical, the political, and the paranormal.
“American Romantic”, the second track on the album, drives the listener on a 3 minute 47 second road trip through cryptic vignettes of modern America. It’s like watching the country zoom past through a car window, with blue-collar faces in southern factories, foreign military entanglements, prolonged drought in the west, and grapplings of the cultural appropriation that is inherent in America’s complex history. Carr, who manages a sense of calm and urgency at once, sings: "The factory across the lake - is mortified of what Georgia makes - when California cattle break - the kids, they dawn, an ancient dress / a new frontier hides in the air - composed of laughs and violence - according to our long lost friends - you love, you fail, you try again".
About the album’s quirky title, Carr says, “The phrase ‘have had’ always struck me as a strange hiccup in the language, while still being so beautifully loaded in it’s meaning. To have something and yet no longer have something and so to have it always - it’s a perfect phrase.”
Through Carr’s meticulousness of expression and musical ingenuity, the balance between “the head and the heart” is struck with precision on Have Had. This balance as well as his uncanny representation of deeply complex human emotion are aspects of Carr’s music that his fans have come to adore and eagerly await. Any appreciator of music can hear the painstaking focus that Carr devoted to this collection of songs. “I’ve always come with a strong DIY mindset, even to a fault. A lot of production time was spent experimenting with new mixing techniques that I was learning, something I had never done before,” Carr says.
Compared with his previous work in Storming the Beaches with Logos in Hand, which Pasatiempo called “a feat of imagination and execution, hypnotic in its newness and rhythmic complexity”, Carr’s new compositions maintain his unique sense of complexity yet add another layer of intricacies that are carefully woven into shorter, increasingly poignant songs.
With this eight-song collection, Carr moves away from the sound of his past projects and into a bolder, more accessible, and triumphantly personal sonic realm. It’s not to be missed.