What is ‘True False’? It’s more than two things, and as of 2019 it’s also a new album by the semi-legendary multimedia collective known as Negativland. ‘True False’ is a full length return to all original music that you could almost mistake for actual songs — albeit ones sung by dozens of sampled vocalists who have never met — and is a prime example of what we used to call experimental music, but now just call social media. It’s your own inescapable subjectivity made catchy as we witness the entrenched political beliefs of left and right cleanly switching sides in under one generation. It’s the first Negativland album to come with a lyric sheet, and a reminder that we need more than just one memory before we can safely tell anyone else that this is not normal.
Is this a concept album? The first of two interconnected double albums, ‘True False’ musically tackles concerns that will be familiar to any surviving fans of the band: our nervous systems, our realities, and the evolving forms of media that inevitably insert themselves between the two. A series of seemingly random topics are slowly woven together: shootings, bees, the right’s rules for radicals, climate control, dogs pretending to be children, the oil we eat, and the right of every American to believe whatever they want to believe — your brain’s ear lets nothing remain entirely random. It’s not the content, it’s the edit that shows us what we all know to be true, and it’s the things that one is most tempted to enjoy as harmless entertainment that often turn out to be living animals. Splicing together Occupy mic checks with US militia rallies, FOX news hosts with ecoterrorists, and your own sanity with the home viewing habits of Negativland’s lead vocalist, the Weatherman, when you put the word ‘True’ next to the word ‘False’, a broader reality reveals itself.
Who’s even in Negativland these days? Didn’t half of you die a few years ago? For this album, Negativland consists of Mark Hosler, David Wills, Peter Conheim, and Jon Leidecker, as well as our dearly departed Don Joyce, Richard Lyons and Ian Allen. Containing tapes from the earliest years of the band (including dozens of samples that will be very familiar to regular listeners of our radio program Over The Edge), the team began work in earnest in 2012, folding the decades on top of each other until they finally resembled all the feelings that tomorrow has for today.
• ‘True False’ was composed, performed, produced, recorded, mixed and edited by Negativland.
• The first of two interconnected double albums.
• Guest artists on this record include: Prairie Prince (The Tubes, Byrne/Eno, XTC), M.C. Schmidt (Matmos), guitarist Ava Mendoza, and percussionist Nava Dunkelman.
• Two bonus tracks are on vinyl version only
• A long-awaited return to songwriting, with three tracks ‘sung’ by The Weatherman (aka founding member David Wills).
• First new studio album in five years
• Cover and label paintings by long time Negativland collaborator Dan Lynch.
• European and US Tours in 2019 and 2020 to promote the album.
• Full press, online and radio promotion.