Jeremy Hurewitz is a Brooklyn-based artist and Rootless is his solo project and means for processing and interpreting the past. Through ambient guitar loops, synthesizer and spoken word samples, Rootless creates a psychedelic tapestry of memory, feelings and color to speak to these places.
Rootless comes from the term Rootless Cosmopolitan, which Joseph Stalin used to disparage the Jews in the 1950s. Jeremy was based in Prague and Shanghai for 9 years as a journalist and came to identify with the term as he spent those years traveling around the world. Jeremy played music throughout his time abroad and published numerous poems as well, which he mines for Rootless.
Two of the three tracks on the Rootless album feature Jeremy’s words. Defensive Indifference is a late-night ride on a tram in Prague, where the sense of drunken revelry edges towards melancholy and finally a sense of menace as the tram moves towards the outskirts of the city. The words sit over a forest of finger-picked guitar coupled with synth swells, setting a mysterious stage for the journey.
“Years pass and the last lonely trees rot on the barren hillside”. Buildings on Fire—the final song on the album—features the most abstract word-play, conjuring the darker consequences of our urges and the sides of life that we hide and hide from. Visions of Shanghai—with mega-construction projects, wealth juxtaposed with extreme poverty, pollution and hordes of people—are brought alive. “Hang your head as the beggar crawls by” is just one of the lines that remind us that we can’t escape the darker sides of life, even if we turn away. The sinister words hover in watery voices between shimmering guitar loops and doom-like synthesizer, occasionally exploding with catharsis.
The Camel & the Moon, features words from Lawrence Durrell, the famed author of the Alexandria Quartet and a lifelong expatriate. The passage in the song tells of a journey into the desert where a group partakes in a gnostic ritual and awakens in the morning to find a changed world. Blissed-out guitar loops and synth samples weave in and out of delicate acoustic guitar figures, a heavy drone takes over before more ecstatic guitar loops usher in the morning’s epiphany and washed out, soft guitar figures close out the song as the characters float away in the lake of an oasis beneath radiant sunshine.
The record was produced and mixed by Greg Walters of the band Tiny Victories. Remixes for the album have been done by three leading artists: Mark McGuire, critically acclaimed solo artist and former member of the band Emeralds; Brendon Anderegg of the Brooklyn ambient duo Mountains; and Ben Vida, the groundbreaking modular synth artist.
Jeremy is Vice Chair of Issue Project Room, Brooklyn’s premier venue for experimental music.
released December 1, 2015
Rootless: Jeremy Hurewitz
Produced and Mixed by Greg Walters
Mastered by Chris Gehringer
Remixes by Mark McGuire, Brendon Anderegg & Ben Vida