“Across the Borderline” comes from the forthcoming album, ¡Spangled! – a collaboration between Guatemalan-born singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno and legendary L.A. pop music renaissance man Van Dyke Parks. The album, set for release on Nonesuch Records Oct. 4 (and on Metamorfosis in Latin America), can be pre-ordered here: nonesuch.com/albums/spangled.
Van Dyke Parks has been involved in show biz in one way or another for most of his life. As a child actor he was featured on The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason and he also played Grace Kelly’s younger brother in the 1956 film, The Swan. From the 1960s on he has had a creative hand in many musical projects by artists usually working in the L.A. area including Brian Wilson's Beach Boys, Lowell George’s Little Feat and Joanna Newsom, to name just a few.
In his own music, Parks has always been interested in exploring all aspects of American and Latin American culture. When he visited Vancouver in March, 2010 to perform in Steve Dawson’s Mississippi Sheiks tribute concerts at Capilano University, Parks talked to the North Shore News about his first forays into recording his own music on his debut album, Song Cycle, released in 1968. He pulled out all the stops sonically using instruments in unusual ways and manipulating sounds in post-production to get the sounds he wanted. “The first records I did starting with ‘Donovan’s Colours’ show my fascination with pop music. I did that with a three-track machine and bounced it to four-track. Having to pre-mix two adjacent tracks was very difficult because it invites a ghost. ‘Colours’ was done with a keyboard and you can hear a lot of tuneful percussion in it. The marimbas, for example, were recorded at half speed. I discovered that going seven and half inches per second instead of 15 would in truth cut in half the time it took to reiterate a marimba note. By reducing the tape speed I could play something quickly with an octave lower and then double the speed of the tape and it would reach an octave ... My experience in the age of analog is quite deep. What I like to think of as the golden age in sound reproduction. That reel-to-reel mentality is what I have – I think about fast forward, reverse and rewind.”
¡Spangled! continues Parks explorations into all things Americano. Nonesuch Records says about the new album: “The 10-song set celebrates the migration of song across the Americas and spans more than a century, including a bolero from Panama, a bossa nova from Brazil, and an elegiac ballad from the Southwest United States – Ry Cooder, John Hiatt, and Jim Dickinson’s “Across the Borderline,” [performed with a band including Cooder on slide guitar, Jim Keltner on drums and Jackson Browne on vocals]. The album also includes one of Moreno’s own songs as well as the previously released track “The Immigrants” by Trinidadian songwriter David Rudder.”