The King of Reinvention, Ed Kuepper, is at it again. The ex-Saints and sometime Laughing Clowns guitarist recorded his first truly solo album in the mid-‘90s – just himself myself and a couple of acoustic guitars.
clowns - The I-94 Bar
Four decades after the release of his first record, the iconic Australian classic ''(I'm) Stranded'' by The Saints, Ed Kuepper returns with an album that may well be considered a high point in his lengthy and uncompromising career.
Recorded over three days in August at Gasworks Studio, Brisbane ''Lost Cities'' is Kuepper's 50th release (excluding compilations) and is on his own Prince Melon Records label. It is Ed’s first entirely solo and electric release, a format Herr Kuepper likes to refer to as Solo Orchestral.
To those who witnessed Ed Kuepper’s live shows last year in which he first aired this new crop of songs, we were set afloat in a dimly-set world and intimate setting.
Ed was sitting on his throne; his approach was self-absorbed, ambient and ethereal, yet focused. With the odd Scotch on the rocks being downed, Kuepper was in fine form.
“Second Winter” feels almost like a concept album. Those are familiar with Kuepper’s work since his solo debut of “Electrical Storm” of 1985 will find it all like a passage between the past and the shadows of previous melodies and phrases. It's rather haunting.
Even the cover of the record has captured the ambience of the front of his first solo album (also made with long term collaborator, drummer Mark Dawson.) This shot shows four identified figures leaving an entrance of a stone building.
For more than 40 years, Ed Kuepper has been creating music. Over that time, he's claimed a place as one of the most progressive and critically acclaimed singer-songwriters and guitar players to emerge from Australia.
Ed has been (mostly) in the shadows of the mainstream and has always forged his own path.
No-one sounds like Ed Kuepper.
I was about 12 when “I’m Stranded” blared from my television set. With a mouthfull of Milo and with my school bag thrown on the sofa, I raced over and turned the volume up of the old National 18-inch colour “telly”. I was blown away by the sound and the image. It was the afternoon show ABC ‘s Flashez that I recall and an interview followed with people who seemed like street urchins. It was explosive. These blokes – The Saints - were the real deal.
"There is a lot of junk on the radio, take a look if you don’t know,” Ed Kuepper declares on the opening track of “The Return of The Mail Order Bridegroom”. The mood is reflective and stripped-back with the acoustic chords ringing in an underpinning soundscape.
Ed’s solo career over the last 30 years has been prolific, emerging from the dust and legacy of arguably one of the world’s great proto-punks bands, The Saints, who were way too cool and intelligent for Old Blighty, and continuing with the magnificent direction that that he took his music with Laughing Clowns.
For the better part of 2013-14, Ed Kuepper toured Australia performing his crowd-pleasing 'By Request' show in city centres and regional towns, culminating in a sold-out performance at the City Recital Hall for Sydney Festival with the Sydney Chamber Orchestra.
For his first tour of 2015, Kuepper will defy industry pre-conceptions by performing a set of largely new and as-yet-unrecorded material.
Dubbed the "Nostalgia For The New Tour", the run will include a three-week-mid-week residency in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne with spin-off weekend shows in regional areas.
The new material is being workshopped with the intention of recording a new album of all new studio material before the end of the year. Fear not, diehard Saints/Laughing Clowns fans: with each show being upwards of two-hours long and without a support, the sets will include back-catalogue gems.