Trinity Thirty is a celebration and reinterpretation of the much beloved Cowboy Junkies classic The Trinity Session, on the occasion of the album’s 30th anniversary (originally released in late 1988). The idea was spawned when Berlin-based Canadian producer Scott Monteith — best known as DJ and dub-inflected minimal techno-electronica recording artist Deadbeat — heard the Junkies’ Trinity version of "Sweet Jane" playing in an airport a few years back. Viscerally reminded of how much he loved the album, and how surprisingly overground the record ended up becoming (by mid-1989 The Trinity Session would be certified Platinum in both Canada and The United States – truly another era!), Monteith immediately reached out to the band to ask if they had anything planned to mark its 30th birthday. Before Monteith even touched down back in Berlin, the band had replied saying they had no such plans but would enthusiastically support whatever angle Monteith/Deadbeat might want to run with.
Monteith then recalled conversations with musician/producer and fellow Canadian-in-Berlin Fatima Camara (whose acclaimed debut solo album Before We Sleep came out on Parachute Records in 2016) about their shared love of The Trinity Session, feeling she’d be the perfect partner to involve in a reinterpretation. Camara was thrilled by the idea, and the two began meeting to explore how to approach things conceptually and aesthetically. This would be their first collaboration – and the first time either artist placed their own vocals at the forefront of a project (with guest vocalist Caoimhe McAlister adding harmonies on certain tracks).
The Trinity Session is rightly celebrated for its naturalistic, profoundly languorous covers of classic tunes and traditional work songs (“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”, “Mining For Gold”, “Blue Moon” et al) – and famous for having been recorded with a single microphone in single takes at a church in Toronto. For Trinity Thirty, Deadbeat and Camara similarly re-recorded everything with ambient mics in a big open space at Berlin’s Chez Cherie studio, relying heavily on natural room acoustics, committed to raw first takes, guided by an overriding strategy of slowing down all the tempos as far as they could while continuing to channel the warm asceticism of the original album.
Initially imagining they would run a fair amount of electronic treatments during the mix, Deadbeat and Camara instead found themselves absorbed by the spaces, silences and atmospherics, guided by a spirit of preservation and restraint in further homage to the original. The result is “a less electronic album than we imagined making”: a gorgeous somnambulant collection of ‘covers of covers’, where the reference point is always the Cowboy Junkies original approach, stretched to new and beguiling limits of deceleration and narcotized spaciousness (a sensibility reinforced by the mastering treatment of minimalist dub-techno legend Stefan Betke of ~scape/Pole).
The gauzy, quavering, reverberant slowcore vibes of artists like Galaxie 500, Grouper and Codeine are a key reference point for Deadbeat & Camara’s prevailing aesthetic: clouds of textured drone and hushed vocals drift through cavernous space, where long decays gently warp and distort the melodic vocal lines and the insistently languid percussion, anchored by thick saturated bass tones representing the most overt influence carried through from their electronic music bona fides. Trinity Thirty is a gorgeously sedate, subtly avant-garde and wonderfully reverent re-interpretation of this classic album.
Thanks for listening.
1. Mining For Gold
2. Misguided Angel
3. Blue Moon
4. I Don't Get It After Midnight (Medley)
5. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
6. To Love Is To Bury
7. Dreaming My Dreams With You
8. 200 More Miles
9. Working On A Building
10. Postcard Blues
11. Sweet Jane
Running time: 01:01:43
The first pressing of Trinity Thirty by Deadbeat & Camara is double 180gram audiophile vinyl pressed at Optimal (Germany) packaged in a wide spine jacket with artworked inner sleeves and a 12"x19" poster, all printed on uncoated papers and boards, featuring original photography by Kieran Behan. The 2x180gLP edition includes a 320kbps MP3 download card.
Caoimhe McAlister: additional vocals on tracks 3, 5, 6, 8, 9 & 11
Ross Payzant: additional keys on track 6
Mastered by Stefan Betke at Scape Mastering.