Dusted (Holy Fuck’s Brian Borcherdt) has this morning released his new album III and shared the video for new single ‘Baseball’.
It was in the midst of a series of 24-hour drives moving his wife, new-born daughter along with all their worldly possessions back home to Nova Scotia – the breeding ground for the label, Dependent Records, Brian Borcherdt began as a teen – from Toronto that the meaning of the new Dusted album, III, hit home for the Holy Fuck founder.
Though these songs came back to him by way of a dream, their hiding place couldn’t have been more rooted in reality – a beat-up old laptop with smashed kiwi fruit stuffed in the mic input. However, in spite of a growing affection for them, their meaning and purpose remained a mystery until that trip where Borcherdt would rest by sleeping over a cooler with only his 11 year old German Shepherd Lab Mix for company.
“I was struck by how much of it was about letting go. It was a time capsule of the most important parts of me. It was all the lost friendships, the let-downs, the things that turned sour”, explains Borcherdt.
Listening to the demos on that defining journey, small details filtered through from the background chatter. He heard suggested names for a new kitten (now ten), the aforementioned dog clicking his nails on the hardwood floor of their old apartment, and Holy Fuck in a flat in Birmingham making tea and discussing set lists. They were transmissions sounding out from one life as he made the journey to another.
The intimacy present here is captured perfectly in the final recording. While these fleeting conversations are gone, the warm lo-fi sketches that make up ‘III’ sound as if they’re coming from the corner of your room rather than through your stereo. They have an it-will-all-be-ok type quality to them, a reassuring embrace sure to be welcome after the disarray of the past year. Borcherdt sings ever so gently as if his wife is asleep in the next room, whilst the arrangements are unfussy and cohesive. Understated, their fugue-like presence becomes clearer with each listen until eventually they resemble the familiarity of old friends, the ones you turn to in hard times.
It’s fitting that Borcherdt employs field recordings to mark the beginning and ending of III. Opening with the rain bouncing off a lake in Ontario, III ends with the riff-raff of the morning commute happening outside the window of his new home in Nova Scotia. The noise of his neighbours preparing to embark on a journey of their own acting not only as a reminder of the journey that brought these songs back home to him but also of all the journeys he’s yet to take.