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Ben Copperhead

Wailing Viridescence

Shimmy-2016    Release date: Apr 28, 2023   

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A key inspiration for Ben Copperhead’s new album, Wailing Viridescence, can be traced back to his appreciation of old recordings using analog reel to reel tape. Years ago, while on tour in the UK, Ben found a book called Tape Music Composition. Cherishing the warming qualities of magnetic sound, he started teaching himself through experimentations in recording techniques. Utilizing a restored 4-track machine, he relished the challenge imposed upon himself by the constraints and parameters of the medium. The results yielded what he believes to be his strongest album to date.

Featuring a collection of songs and several instrumental tracks, Wailing Viridescence represents Copperhead’s deeply personal response to the physical, spiritual, and social injustice. It can be seen, in part, as having been born out of a desire for healing and self-expression under the paradoxical conditions of a need for self-reliance imposed from without and a longing for community coming from within. For Copperhead, this imposition of physical limitations and communal desire gave rise to unexpected inspirations.

The album title was inspired by the concatenation of activities undertaken during the pandemic: the ambient wailing sound he often heard during his walks in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, which he later discovered were vocalizations from a peacock in the park’s zoo; readings of myths from India and the story of a peacock who ate a venomous snake, causing the bird’s colors to come alive; and the singing of birds outside his window. These serendipitous influences inspired in him a moment of synesthesia: his namesake, the copperhead snake; the iridescence of the peacock; the wailing calls of songbirds. Copperhead translated this experience of musical colorations through alternate tunings and original arrangements that can be heard in the present album.

Wailing Viridescence represents Ben Copperhead’s continued musical growth and transformation refracted through the collective challenges we face in these tumultuous times. The album was co-produced with longtime collaborator cellist and composer Brent Arnold.  Kramer mastered the recordings and hand-picked the songs in collaboration with Ben to help create his extraordinary debut LP for Shimmy-Disc.

"I haven't known Ben for long, but this LP is already one of my 'desert-island' discs. Like all great poetry, it's so full of life, it gently explodes in my soul as i listen to it."
- Kramer, 2023
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  • Tracklist

    1. Copperhead Vagabond
    2. Sweet Control
    3. Franny and the Songbirds
    4. Moon Rabbit
    5. We Stand Tall
    6. She I
    7. Laughing Gymnopédie
    8. Be the Henchmen
    9. Low Joy
    10. Feline Feminine

  • Credits

    All songs written & arranged by Ben Copperhead
    Produced by Ben Copperhead & Brent Arnold
    Mastered by Kramer at Noise Miami
    Artwork by Brian Zegeer
    Back cover photo by Rachel Herman

    Engineered by Ben Copperhead, Brent Arnold, Mike Tarantino, and Mason Le Long
    Mixed by Ben Copperhead, Brent Arnold, and Kramer

    Ben Copperhead- guitars, bass, banjo, violin, electronics
    Brent Arnold- cello on A3, A4, A5, B5
    Jessica Pavone - viola on A3, A5, B5
    Tom Swafford- violin on A3, A5, B5
    Euan Roger- drums/percussion on A1
    Lizzy Cook- cello on B1
    Adam Sung Waldron- drums on B1
    George Wright- backing vocals A5
    Namiko Suzuki- backing vocals A5