(Reybee) Imaad Wasif's (Yeah Yeah Yeahs/ACID/The Folk Implosion) has released an animated video for his new single, "Mr. Fear, So Long (Money Mark Rework)", which is available as a three-song EP via Sonic Ritual.
"In the studio, it was like watching Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein," says IMAAD WASIF about the brilliant reworking of "So Long, Mr. Fear" that celebrated producer and artist MONEY MARK presented him with. Comparing the track to the classic 1974 Mel Brooks film isn't so farfetched, as the new interpretation that he stitched together doesn't render it so much as a "remix" per se as much as a whole new beautiful beast. "Mark just hooked pure electricity into '... Mr. Fear' and re-animated the song in a totally new way, some kind of alien funk with its dark vision intact. It's danceable as f***."
"Mr. Fear, So Long (Money Mark Rework)" (which inverts the original title, reinforcing that it's a new creature altogether) enhances the reflective and contemplative original and transforms it into a rhythmic banger, upping the beats and instrumentation, further highlighting Wasif's already solid songwriting. "Money Mark is touched with a mad genius so when he told me he was into the song and wanted to do a remix, I had no idea what he'd do," he beams. "He nailed it. All the touchstones are there.""Reworking this gem of a song from Imaad was a complete pleasure," adds Mark, a longtime Beastie Boy writer, producer, composer, inventor and Grammy nominee. Having re-imagined songs by Linkin Park ("Until It Breaks"), Tom Tom Club ("Genius Of Love"), Jack Johnson ("Upside Down") and appeared on songs from Beck, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Weezer, De La Soul, Danger Doom, Red Hot Chili Peppers to Keb Mo, Marisa Monte, David Byrne, William Onyeabor, Atarashii Gakko!, Molotov and many other international musical acts, his re-working of Wasif's "So Long Mr. Fear" adds dark Bowie-esque shades to an already epic song from topped with cinematic Casio Vocaloid group harmonies. "'Mr. Fear' grows from a kitchen table houseplant to a thick mutating vine ready to swallow the Hollywood hills best experienced with your favorite studio grade headphone," Mark adds. "Imaad emerges victorious with his tight and clean vocal performance as he walks a tightrope over a deep treacherous valley. You'll need multiple listenings to catch it all."
The title track from his 2022 album on Sonic Ritual, the original version of "So Long, Mr. Fear" is a transcendental track that Wasif embraces its moldability. "This is one of those songs that I feel so fortunate to have written," he says. "It's got infinite lives, I think."
The original version of the track, as well as the album from whence it came, was recorded during the COVID Lockdown in conjunction with producer and long-time collaborator Bobb Bruno of Best Coast. Like songwriting experts such as Lee Hazelwood, Leonard Cohen, and Nick Cave, on So Long Mr. Fear, Wasif, collaborator Bruno, and mixer GRAMMY-nominated Lewis Pesacov (Best Coast, Nikki Lane, FIDLAR, Local Natives) unearth big ideas by carving away at smaller things until they glisten with universality. "I'm hoping that ['Mr. Fear, So Long'] gets the message of the song across to more people, a light of some kind to be felt or a minor reclamation of strength after the pandemic took it from us, a recognition of how f***ed that all was."
Having spent the bulk of 2022 on tour with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Wasif was able to continue building his already formidable solo career with the release of his latest album. With five critically-hailed previous albums under his belt, So Long Mr. Fear is the sixth solo album for this accomplished artist. During Wasif's life as a musician he's been with bands including early slowcore noise rock duo lowercase; psychedelic folk group alaska!; and Sebadoh/Dinosaur Jr. member Lou Barlow's project Folk Implosion. Those not familiar with his riffs and solos for Electric Flower Group, Grim Tower and ACID might recognize his electrifying work as a touring member of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
"I'm not too interested in living in the shadow of the old rock archetypes and rehashing them," he explains, looking forward to keep forging his own path forward. "For me, it's all about creating something new." Watch the video below and get the EP here.
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