man's foot and puddle reflecting trees

How Things Happen (2022) by Josh Thorpe is a Rat-drifting album of experimental songs and instrumental pieces.

From Thorpe’s liner notes: “The song ‘How Things Happen’ began with the sound of my partner and I jokingly calling our imaginary dog into the room. (An actual dog has since appeared in our lives, same name.) Fragments of spoken language like this, and how they so easily become melody, often start these things. And, while waiting for a concert to start (Deerhoof or Richard Dawson), I had written some notes about walking around Glasgow. Then my friend Ruth Skinner asked me for a text to be performed in response to a series of photos she’d found of a dog sitting on an air mattress on a swimming pool in London, Ontario. Somehow ‘How Things Happen’ made sense as a response, and all these elements came together.

Similarly I think ‘Where Is Rita and George’ began with that word and the sound of it I liked so much, ‘telefono’. And also just the cuckoo-type figures we use when we call each other’s names sometimes.

Rory and Owen made a wonderful rhythm section; their playing, so light and so relaxed, makes the spirit of the title track. And Ailbhe and Doug each have such wonderful melodic sense, phrasing, intonation, and touch. Based on my somewhat wonky speech-song, they carved out the most beautiful and unusual parts.

shows album cover: black border with naked man seated in field, reading
Cover image: Angelica Mesiti / Josh Thorpe

Love & Weather is an album of unusual rock songs by Glasgow-based Canadian painter Josh Thorpe. Songs that are simple in form but complex in texture, and which describe a world gone splendidly off the rails. This marks the first release of Unusual Music Exchange. Order it now on Bandcamp to support the project or stream on whatever platform you like.

Love & Weather by Josh Thorpe was performed with Rory Haye on bass iv and Owen Curtis Williams on the drums. Recorded by Luigi Pasquini at Dystopia Glasgow. Image by Angelica Mesiti.

On this and previous releases, Thorpe has collaborated with visual artists Angelica Mesiti, Mathew McWilliams, Ashes Withyman, Devon Knowles, Ian Wallace, Geoffrey Farmer, Renée Lear, Sandra Meigs, Trevor Shimizu, and Lily Ross-Millard. Watch for vinyl to be released in partnership with YYZ Artists Outlet and Dunlop Art Gallery, as well as an unusual series of programming around sound, music, and listening in spring 2021.

See videos of “Down to the Ground,” which shows a surprisingly uplifting view of covid-era Paris (video by Mathew McWilliams); and “Manhattan,” a rich layering of images from cities and situations: