AUM, the fourth album from Minotaurs, showcases the collaborative essence of the band’s energy. Working alongside Stuart Bogie (Antibalas) and featuring guest vocals from Sarah Harmer as well as songwriting contributions by all eight members of the band, AUM is truly a collective creation. Fronted by bandleader and multi-instrumentalist Nathan Lawr (who has contributed to records and live shows by Feist, Constantines, Bry Webb and more), the Minotaurs sound is a blend of rhythmic afro-folk-psychedelia.
AUM focuses on the inward perspective of the spiritual journey that unfolds during the creative process. “Art may not change anything but it can act as a vessel for an idea, and ensure that certain ideas never die,” says Lawr. “Why do authoritarian regimes destroy the art first? Because they know that it will inspire people to think. And change happens when people start thinking.”
Today, Minotaurs premiere “Black Maria” ahead of AUM‘s release date on Stories Behind The Songs:
Minotaurs frontman Nathan Lawr shares the story behind “Black Maria” with Stories Behind The Songs:
“The Black Maria was a slang term used to describe police vans during the mid-1800s. When I read about it in George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London (a great example of Muckraker journalism), I was fascinated by the imagery. There’s something almost sickly alluring about this image of a dark, mysterious woman coming to take you away. And the more I thought about it, about how troublesome the relationship between society and those who police it is these days, it was too intriguing an idea to leave alone.
There’s something perverse about our preoccupation with technology. In many ways, our relationship with our smart phone is our most intimate relationship. We take them everywhere with us, we sleep with them, they know all our secrets. When I sat down to write some lyrics for this song, I was fantasizing about what it would be like, in the future, if we could actually have intimate relationships with technology and what this would mean for our humanity. I pictured Black Maria as some sort of humanoid robot that had complete power over me yet I was in her sway. What is she doing to me? Is this good or bad?
At any rate, I know it’s sort of weird but I was happy with the way it turned out. I am always trying to conjure up images in the listeners head, and if it’s a strange or unusual image, all the better. And in the end, it’s probably too early to say whether or not the pervasive nature of personal technology is bad or good. I’m leaning towards bad but the jury’s still out.”
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