With a mélange of funky folk melodies and swirling, psychedelic soundscapes, P.J. Olsson’s new record Beautifully Insane jettisons listeners into the intoxicating world inside his head-a place where the beauty of outer space, the serene depths of the ocean, and the driving pulse of modern-day life merge.
Words For Living, Olsson’s debut album, was a post-modern mix of 60s folk-rock and frenetic techno scene rhythms layered over experimental found sounds. The groundbreaking CD created a palpable buzz in both the industry and among critics who generated rave reviews in local and national press. It catapulted the eclectic singer-songwriter into the national spotlight with an appearance on the David Letterman show and a song on the wildly popular Dawson’s Creek soundtrack album. After audiences went crazy for his showcase at Austin’s South By Southwest festival, big-name acts clamored to entice the sensual, mop-haired Olsson to join them on the road. The rising star eventually hit the stage with the likes of Rufus Wainwright, Beth Orton, DJ Spooky, Placebo, Ben Harper, Train, and Nelly Furtado, mesmerizing audiences with his electrifying live show. Following the intense frenzy surrounding Words For Living, Olsson needed a quiet space to conceptualize his next musical canvas.
Striving for simplicity in a noisy and complicated world, Olsson initially recorded virtually every song on Beautifully Insane with only an acoustic guitar and vocals. But from there the techno troubadour took over, concocting a fresh blend of electronic and natural sounds, including everything from cell phone ring tones to songs of whales. Famous for trippy, surreal lyrics that spring from his limitless imagination, Olsson searched for more clarity in the word-play on Beautifully Insane.
This once-tortured soul, who fought bouts of despair as a teen, is in a whole new headspace and admits to being happy with his life and happy with this record. We’re betting that P.J. isn’t the only one who likes the results.
P.J. Olsson makes ultramodern pop music that is as pretty as he is. You can safely file Olsson with the other singer-songwriters who know how to lay a beat on top of an acoustic guitar, resulting in orgiastic spring-flings and lots of college girls in accelerated states of arousal.
…a slippery, kinetic combination of discrete loops and samples mated with acoustic guitars and live instrumentation. What distinguishes Olsson from similar pioneers is an eerie voice that’s equal parts Elliott Smith and Al Green…
Catchy melodies and a sumptuous, soulful voice dovetail with angular noise, samples and a magnetic mix of folk, rock and electronica.
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