Photo by Jacqueline Di Milia
Origins is a recurring new music feature in which an artist charts the influence of their latest hit single.
Since formally launching her career as a solo artist with 2010’s The Magician’s Private Library, Holly Miranda has never failed to release an album without the presence of TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone. Her next record, Mutual Horse, is due out next year via Dangerbird Records, and you can be sure the trend continues. In fact, their latest collaboration is Miranda’s new single and first original release since 2015, “Exquisite”.
Calling the song her “favorite thing we have ever done together,” Miranda tells Consequence of Sound that it came together after she rediscovered an old demo in her email. “This time we decided to write a song together,” she explains, “partly about our longtime friendship and conversations about taking inventory and responsibility for your mistakes and shortcomings.”
It’s a woozy blend of contemplative guitars a la ’90s Fiona Apple with the horns and production of Dear Science-era TVOTR, all pulled along by a determined yet trudging low end. “Oh to build a bridge, a bridge to breach the chasm/ Oh turn back the clock and thus avert disaster,” Miranda and Malone sing together, like two friends coming to a common ground of fault. “Oh, rewrite the for this bad actor/ But here we are/ Please forgive my foolish heart.”
Take a listen below.
To explain how their relationship itself was part of the influence behind “Exquisite”, Miranda and Malone have broken down the Origins of the track.
Kyp Malone: I’ve sang for/with Holly on a couple of her records now and was happy to collaborate on this one. It’s inspiring to see a friend going through their respective creative journey.
Holly Miranda: I have actually never released a solo record that Kyp and I don’t sing a duet on together. It started with “Slow Burn Treason” from The Magicians Private Library in 2010. Kyp and I had been friends and then we wound up being neighbors in this building in Greenpoint and he was always locking himself out and knocking on my door. We would cook a lot together and hang out and play each other songs. One night I started playing this song I was working on that would turn out to be “Slow Burn Treason” and he made me play it over and over and over until he had learned all the words and I think that was the first time we ever sang together. After that, on my 2015 record he sang on “Everlasting” and did what I call a “Kyp sandwich.” That’s when he sings above and below your vocals, created this Kyp capsule that nothing else can compare to. I knew we had to do something on this album again but I wanted it to be more collaborative, I wanted to really hear our writing voices together.
KM: If I remember correctly lyrically there was conversation between Holly and I about the inventorying that takes place within varied therapeutic modalities. Being given the chance to look at ourselves unflinchingly and recognizing many of the ways we have acted selfishly and unconsciously and the importance of atonement.
HM: Yeah, we were both working through some stuff with asking for forgiveness from others and ourselves. We sat in Kyp’s kitchen and listened to the instrumental version of the song that I had cut with my band at Dangerbird Studios in LA and I had a few little melody ideas and maybe a few words. Then we went our separate ways and worked on our parts alone. I didn’t know what Kyp was going to sing until we were in Florent Barbier’s studio a few weeks later. I love the way our writing styles and melodies mesh and also kinda bang up against each other in different parts of the song.
KM: It’s fun to sing about new places one is growing towards even if it’s aspirational. So I guess Ayahuasca was a part of the inspiration.
HM: Yes, that was also something we talked about influencing and shaping our lives. Kyp is one of those rare individuals who is always so easy to talk to, especially about very intense experiences. He is also always there when you need him. Even if you take too big of a bite of that mushroom chocolate at the literary christmas party in Park Slope and you can’t figure out how to work your phone to call a cab. Kyp will talk you through it and make you tea when you finally figure out how to get there.
KM: Long lasting friendship was also part of the inspiration, as we have been present in one another’s lives for a while now.