January 7, 2022 Respond
I’ve made a collection of cover songs, and you can listen to it as of now on Bandcamp. I had lots of help from Mike Belyea (Mickii Bellier), Tim Crabtree (Paper Beat Scissors), and Laurel Sprengelmeyer (Little Scream). Artwork by Jon Claytor (look at each song’s page for individual water colours).
Enjoy and thank you for listening.
I think the biggest lesson I learned from making this record is that interpretation is creation.
These are 14 songs I love, written by some of my favourite artists. I wanted to see what they could teach me, and also what I could bring to them.
This whole thing feels quite personal. Even though I believe that songs are for sharing, I don’t sing a lot of covers. Often I feel strange trying to embody the sentiments of others (a voice is such a personal thing). I have lots of favourites, but the ones comprised here are some that I found myself able to sing. That is to say, they felt convincing coming from me.
Normally I write and perform my own songs, or collaborate with others on their material. The original reason I got into music was to make songs, and I never really went through a period of learning by playing the music of others. This approach has given me my own impressionistic style. There is something special about stepping back now, and applying my way of creating to the unique works of others. I wanted to know some of my favourite songs in a new way.
When you get to know someone really well, your language starts to change. You begin to paraphrase your own thoughts. You become at once lazier and more precise. You take liberties, omit some details and embellish others. Somehow, all of this improvisation is part of an effort to be better understood. My songs contain some of this flexibility – not just lyrically but in the relationship between the words and music as well. I’ve tried to tap into that spirit in my relationship with these songs.
I intended Translations to be listened to as an album. It feels helpful to keep the songs in conversation with one another. I collected and assembled the songs, and I invite you to listen to find your own connections.
June 3, 2021 Respond
I’m missing you all. In the meantime, Forward Music Group is throwing a virtual launch for my newest album. It’s all happening on June 6, 3pm (Montreal time) on Bandcamp.
>> TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE ($10)
I will host and sing some songs live before airing the world premiere of a full-band mini-show followed by a Q&A. The upside of this streaming business is that you can join us from anywhere in this wild world. Please do!
“As so much stuff moved online over the past 14 months, Feuerstack instead went inward. The result was an album called Harmonize the Moon, a recording made in isolation by Michael himself – the only outside contributions coming from a microphone pointed out the door and clips and voice memos collected over the last few years of traveling.
Earlier this year, as lockdown measures eased, Michael gathered a small crew to bring these songs to life in a physical space. This group of collaborators – Erika Angell (Thus Owls), Mark Bucky Wheaton (Land of Talk), and Chris Velan (amazing singer/songwriter) – move gracefully through 5-songs, re-imagining material from the album. Recorded and mixed by Gilles Castillioux at Treatment Room Studio in Montreal and shot/edited by Phil Creamer (Here on Out Sessions).”
I really hope to see you. (If the timing doesn’t work for you, keep in mind that the link will stay active for 24 hours following the show.)
For tickets and info, just go here: https://forwardmusic.bandcamp.com/merch/michael-feuerstack-htm-streaming-launch
April 26, 2021
Do you love the cover art from Harmonize the Moon? Here is your chance to make it yours.
My label, Forward Music Group and I are holding a silent auction for the original collage by Paul Henderson to benefit the Mile End Mission in Montreal. We are massively grateful to Paul for generously donating the piece, and to our friends at Frame & Canvas and Phonopolis for their support in the project.
The winner will receive the framed original piece, shipped at our expense, and all proceeds will be donated to the Mile End Mission.
We’ll compile everything and announce the winner on May 6th.
Artwork by Paul Henderson
Paper Collage (2020) – 12.5″ x 13″
(16 ⅞ X 17 ⅝ framed by Frame & Canvas)
ABOUT MILE END MISSION
Mile End Mission provides a safe and welcoming community which meets the practical, emotional and spiritual needs of those who need it the most in the area of Mile End. Each year the Mission serves over 15,000 meals, fills 10,000 grocery bags and provides countless essential services to its growing membership. Not just a soup kitchen, the Mission provides structure, purpose and meaning for its chronically poor, socially excluded and disadvantaged members.
(We also encourage non-auction donations at any time)
ABOUT PAUL HENDERSON
Freelance graphic designer and artist based in Peterborough, Ontario, Paul’s work is perhaps most recognized from adorning the covers of various albums on the You’ve Changed label – Jon McKiel, Shotgun Jimmie, Partner, Baby Eagle/Steve Lambke, etc.
You can see more of his work at oldernowthen.com
March 19, 2021 Respond
Harmonize the Moon is out everywhere now!
I’m so extremely proud of this record. It represents a new height in confidence, concision and self-sufficiency in my work – and by extension life in general.
The term ‘pivot’ has really been abused this year, but I really can’t think of a more poetic word to describe how this record came to be. It was meant to be one thing and circumstances turned it into another. When the pandemic “dropped” (ugh forgive me, I couldn’t resist), I was in late stage plans to head into the studio with some amazing musicians to make a very upbeat and wiry record of an entirely different nature with an entirely different batch of songs. The plan changed, as it did for everyone. That record has yet to be made.
Luckily, the songs which comprise Harmonize the Moon were also lying around in various states of development. They were destined for some future session, the vision for which involved lots of players in a fancy studio helping to build panoramic and lush versions of these delicate little pieces. Once it became clear that we were all collectively facing some long-term solo time, it occurred to me that these songs could also work in this way that you hear them now. Though I’ve always been involved in my own recordings, I was feeling increasingly empowered by my production and mixing work for others in recent years (Camille Delean, The Fire Harvest, Taung Child in the City and Big Share to name a few). I really felt I could make something special with only the resources I have in front of me.
Harmonize the Moon is the product of some beautiful alone time. I tried to be rigorous with myself and the process: to edit lovingly and ruthlessly, to create performances that represented a moment in time worth building on. I tried to channel a different character (or at least a different facet of my personality) for each instrument I added. No one else heard a peep until I had already done a fairly presentable draft of the mixes. Hpwever, to me it really feels like everyone I’ve ever played with appears on this record in some way or another, subtle or blatant. I wouldn’t be able to do much without that ongoing, loving lifetime of collaboration and connection.
But wait – there’s new Bell Orchestre music as well…
Bell Orchestre’s House Music is out today too via Erased Tapes. My head is reeling. I can’t even imagine how you must feel if you’ve gotten this far in the post. House Music was made from improvised sessions with all of us playing together – no roadmap or specific destination. Though we certainly edited and embellished, this music was completely communal at its inception. For me personally, having these two releases land on the same day serves as a beautiful reminder of the twists and turns and intense variety that my creative life has lead me through so far. So much more to come.
March 5, 2021 Respond
Almost there! The new album Harmonize the Moon will be available to you officially on March 19 from Forward Music Group. In the meantime, we have one more single to share with you. “Call of the Tired” is a secular hymn of encouragement, aka a pep talk. Please enjoy responsibly.
The artwork you see above is another detail of the wondrous collage by Paul Henderson that graces the cover of Harmonize the Moon.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned for news about online performances and other creative ways of celebrating.
Much love, I miss playing for you all.
February 5, 2021
Harmonize the Moon (my 5th record since changing my name to my name) becomes available on March 19 via Forward Music Group, but in the meantime please spend some time with Time to Burn and consider pre-ordering the record or pre-saving it in your streaming world.
The artwork for the single is a detail of the album cover collage by Paul Henderson.
Please enjoy this tantalizer, shot by MF and edited by Ian Roy.
November 20, 2020
I’ve been sitting on some new music for a short while, and I’m very pleased to announce that ‘Harmonize the Moon’ is coming in March through my friend and yours Forward Music Group. In fact, there is even a new song available now.
This is a collection of songs I wrote over the last few years. Once the world turned upside down, I was able to make time to document them and bring them to life. I’m immensely proud of this intimate and odd album, and I hope you will fall in love with it.
Until touring and gathering can happen again, I’ll focus my energy on ways I can deliver some live performances of this new music to you all.
January 2, 2020
Thanks for checking in and happy new year to you all.
2019 was big, both for my own songs and for productions and collaborations with others. Keep your eyes on this space for news about upcoming releases that I played on or helped bring into the world. Bell Orchestre did a small string of shows in Europe (including 2 with the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andre de Ridder), and I worked on the recording and mixing of upcoming releases by Camille Delean and Big Share among others.
As for new music of my own – I’ve been working on writing new songs and there will be a new record this year. That’s all I really know for now.
I can’t wait to cross your path again. Hopefully 2020 brings me to you, dear reader.
March 29, 2019
Please check out the new MF video directed and shot by Ian Roy.
This is coming to you now in conjunction with the announcement of the official April 19 European release of Natural Weather. Of course there are also tour dates. Please take a look at the list and come and hear me sing if I end up near you.
January 1, 2019
Happy 2019 to you, dear friends and listeners.
Looking back on 2018, I’m reminded of a year of amazing projects and collaborations.
– played guitar on Chris Velan‘s amazing album ‘Amateur Hour’
– European tour in June
– released ‘Natural Weather’ and played incredible shows with a sweet new band to launch it (and I’m shocked and humbled to see it on a few year end lists)
– recorded and mixed ‘Open Water,’ the upcoming release by Utrecht band The Fire Harvest (look for it in 2019)
– toured Eastern Canada opening for and singing with The Barr Brothers
– continued in depth, ongoing work on Camille Delean‘s (to be) incredible second album
– contributed to the new release and installation concerts by Thus Owls (see playlist below)
– reunited for 3 wild and vital shows with Julie Doiron & the Wooden Stars
– after more than a few years, we settled on a final mix (by Jace Lacek) for the newest Bell Orchestre recording (to be made public sometime later in 2019)
– countless other concerts, sessions and happenings but this list is already long
All of this activity means the world to me. Thank you so much for your openness and curiousity and for bearing witness to it all.
Much love and see you in 2019. Lots of plans in the works.
Photo by Corey Isenor (thanks)