The Secretly Canadian Newsletter

Havergal has done very little recording since his debut Lungs for the Race was completed in 2000. In 2001 Havergal was transplanted to the West Coast for three years. He has since relocated to Texas, where he currently resides and where he finished his new album. Elettricita is neither a Texas record nor a California record. The music on it resides between the two, on the road somewhere in Arizona or New Mexico with eyes fixed forward. No, it is not a ‘road’ record (throw out those images of Willie & Waylon). Oh God no. Perhaps the record is a breakup record – about Havergal’s breakup with California; an acceptance and understanding of a past and an anticipation for a future. There is a roaming spirit on this record, a real sense of manifest destiny. Since the dawn of the new millennium, Havergal has walked across the desert and back, and now he stands before us with Elettricita in his arms, between us & the sun. We find he has grown enormously as a vocalist, composer and songwriter. While more melancholy tonally, on Elettricita there is clearly a newfound sense of maturity. His vocals are still talky at points, but he always finds the melody, no matter how patient & small it may be.

The mark of minimalist composers Erik Satie, Steve Reich and Terry Riley have all been left on Havergal and can be traced throughout the new album. The strength of the single note (versus the fat meaty chord) is something that Havergal has always embraced. And with unlimited tracking, the cactus needled single notes of Lungs for the Race have blossomed a bit on Elettricita, retaining that fragile sound while finding strength in numbers – an army of individual notes so deep in number that the land they traverse becomes unrecognizable in their wake. The music meanders as the hypnotic rhythms build upon one another and change into slow beach breaks. In the studio, Havergal does not set out to record an event that occurs in a moment in time, but rather to create a sound collage that can only be created in his home studio. The title of the album, Elettricita, is taken from Italian futurist painter Giacomo Balla, whose embracing of artificial light in his work became a symbol of modernity. He was so obsessed with the future that he named his daughter Elettricita (meaning “electricity” in Italian). Havergal’s commitment to make a modern music that is beyond his personal abilities – relying on technology to multi-track very simple parts forty times over. Yet the music still retains a very humanistic quality, conveying moods of the most complicated sort. Yes, this highly processed music has a subtle pastoral quality to it that allows it to transcend the glitch pop soup of the day. Movietone, Califone, early Tangerine Dream and Eno’s Another Green World are interesting touchstones for one looking for kindred spirits.

And thank goodness for the healthy portions of piano served up on this new record. With the sublime guitar and piano interplay on songs such as album opener “Drowned Men”, “The Fallen Hopeless Hope” and “Burn Up the Bay”, the bliss-out potential for the listener remains quite high. The tunes have a timeless quality to them, immersed in an ancient static while pulsing with a futuristic beat. And through it all is the voice of a cowboy of the most contemporary sort. Recurring themes on Elettricita include accepting certain things (age, lovelife, insecurities) and about not accepting other things (greed, stagnation, self indulgence, disregard).

It’s past sundown. Pull your car over to the highway’s shoulder, or take a comfortable seat on your favorite side of the couch. Crack open a pint of your favorite ice cream and immerse yourself in Havergal’s Elettricita. Prepare for the passersby to scratch their heads and covet your position as the glow from your car or transom window betrays your place in eternity – if only for a little under an hour.



Drowned Men

New Innocent Tyro Allegory

I Am A Frequency

The Fallen Hopeless Hope

Burn Up The Bay

Far Enough To Be Alone


Slugs In The Sun

The Last Wayfarer