Happy Holidays everyone! The kind folks at Hash Magazine have seen fit to share a Maker demo of “In the Bedrock” from his forthcoming EP, Ain’t Dead Yet, six songs inspired by Skip James and his infamous, cross-note Spanish tuning. The genesis of these tunes occurred just before those of Agapao, and this EP should be considered a spookier, blusier companion to the more luminous gospel undercurrent of that work. On page 49 of Issue #3, there’s a cool review of the demo as well!
Heads up y’all: Willem Maker made the cover of a cool new, Brooklyn-based magazine called Hash! This is only their second issue, which can be read online or downloaded for free, so go show ‘em some love and check it out for an in-depth feature by M. Sean Ryan regarding the making of Agapao and Makerworks history in general.
Can you believe, according to Ben Ratliff of the New York Times, Agapao is “one of the great one man recordings” ever made? However debatable this proclamation may be (but of course we wholeheartedly agree), what a wonderful way to break two months of complete critical silence following Willem Maker’s newest release! “The Freq” was chosen for the Popcast Song of the Week, and you can tune in here. The Maker section closes the program, beginning about 27 minutes in, but the whole piece is worth a listen, with preceding material setting up Ben’s argument against Maker’s obscurity, given the quality and maturity of his work: “What we’ve got now in Willem Maker is a guy who’s ready and knows his own aesthetic up and down.” Ratliff also included a written review in the Playlist section of Sunday’s paper, calling Agapao “a weirdly intense party, 15 songs of sophisticated southern-rock trance music, composed with open-tuned guitar and boot heel, adjoining blues and country and heterophonic gospel music.” Our good buddy Christoph Mueller even garnered a much deserved mention for his artistic labors! Thanks so much to Ben for getting the snowball rolling in such a huge way and to everyone who has written with encouragement or bought Agapao in response to the sudden exposure (sales leapt from a pitifully intermittent trickle to peak at #4 on Bandcamp)! Keep in touch and please spread the word!
After a complicated, incredibly drawn-out production process that even included an entire reprint of the packaging, Agapao finally arrived to the mountain yesterday in perfect condition and is even more beautiful than we hoped, just in time for today’s physical release. So head on over to the new Makerworks shop, where you can order it direct, along with Willem’s earlier discs and t-shirts. Hope all is well and thanks again for listening!