HOW TO DRESS WELL
How To Dress Well is the stage name of songwriter and producer Tom Krell. Krell’s burgeoning career began in 2009 when, having just moved from Brooklyn to Berlin, his songs began to emerge online via a hugely prolific string of free, digital EPs posted in anonymity on his blog. Combining a gorgeous falsetto with fractured R&B-influenced beats, an instinctive ear for subtly devastating melody and elements of noise, sound collage and avant-garde composition, Krell's debut album Love Remains offered a beautiful window into a startlingly realised artistic imagination.
Praised for both its conceptual strength and immediate emotional resonance, Love Remains duly garnered vast critical acclaim and highlights such as “Ready For The World” and “Decisions feat. Yuksel Arslan” saw Krell accredited with having given birth to a new, narcotized strain of R&B that has since spawned a host of imitators.
Since Love Remains, Krell has toured the world, recorded with an orchestra (the Just Once EP, with proceeds going to raise awareness about mental illness) and, always prolific, written and recorded a lot of new music - all whilst continuing work on a philosophy doctorate. September 4th 2012 will see him share this new body of work with the world with the release of Total Loss, his new album.
"I made Total Loss over the course of a long year, 15 months or so. These songs were written in Brooklyn, Chicago, Nashville, and London, between September of 2010 & January 2012”, explains Krell. “I spent a lot of this long year very unhappy and confused. I always want to live gracefully and wistfully and with love and possibility: I found myself feeling stranded, left alone and depraved, and generally run the fuck down. Mourning people who have passed and – even more horrifying –mourning people still alive, still in my life. While writing these songs I was trying to learn to lose in a meaningful way and to sustain loss as a source of creative energy. I have learned that optimism and mournfulness are not opposed moods or modes of life: for me, for whatever reason, this was a hard lesson to learn. I feel like I’ve learned so much and continue to learn so much and this makes me very, very happy."
Whereas Love Remains was a study of love in its darkest hour, Total Loss is an attempt to find one's way out of darkness, even when there seems to be no light ahead. Co-produced by Rodaidh McDonald (the XX), the album touches on many of the same sounds as Love Remains but incorporates a range of other influences and showcases Krell's evolution as an artist. The increased fidelity of these recordings also highlights Krell's arrangements and graceful voice in ways which Love Remains had only hinted at. All the elements of Love Remains that enraptured are still present here – the noisiness, the moodiness, the layers of swarming voices – but stand alongside other complex elements: the elegant weeping arcos and pizzicatos of neo-classical music, the rude drums of trap-rap, and the sweet, special and sentimental moments of Janet Jackson's Velvet Rope are all swept up and embraced in the deep beauty of Total Loss.
Krell states that Total Loss is "an opening-up", describing it as an "album about sharing." Where Love Remains was damaged and hurt, about losing oneself in the noisiness of the songs and becoming trapped in melancholia, Total Loss is wounded but healing, about re-emerging like Persephone, or like Mariah Carey post-Glitter and after her breakdown. Remember? She wrote that she “never told her fans this, but 'guess what, I don't take care of myself'”--- Total Loss is a 'love yourself' and 'change yourself' kind of album. So, where Love Remains was an expression of intense and maybe isolating intimacy with pain, Total Loss is about the rare sharing that can go on between people that pierces through the undeniable, sometimes unshakable struggle and pain of life--- I'm trying to use this sharing to orient my life--- call it true hope, or love."