Rooted in tradition, modern American folk music has followed the sounds of predecessors, recreating an era that relies on context that no longer exists, recalling pain that is no longer relevant or honest. Human Behavior, aka AZ based folk collective led by Andres Parada, challenges this tendency by offering Kedumim -- the third part in a trilogy of albums that cherishes/questions folk music convention by exploring death and grieving in a godless/digitalized generation.
Having spent the last few years touring basements and small spaces, Parada decided not to stop, instead continuing his grassroots travel, often by himself, across the United States. Just before leaving for the first of many long tours, he received two phone calls on the same day. One, to inform him his friend had died by heroin overdose. Two, to inform him his grandfather had been eased into death via morphine. A young friend dead from addiction, old kin lost to age, both through opiates – the ironic wonder and mourning of death is heard in every fragile sequence of the album. Much like it's namesake, the hill from where Jesus leaped to escape his childhood community, “Kedumim” is a romance that favors emotion of experience, rather than the experience itself. The content – hospitalization, fear of death, religion as escape, all apply to the story of the addict, the old man, and in Parada's personal experience, the clinically depressed. Parada's cracking voice connects his history with bipolar mania to Christian parables, as to uphold the folk custom of cherishing the beauty in suffering with broad strokes.
Although the melodies and imagery can often correspond with historical folk and Christian songs, their reinterpretation is as unsettling as it is contradictory. A message from the dead, received during a reading with renowned psychic Allison Dubois, is autotuned and read as a sermon over a seemingly endless drone. Familiar Christian hymns are sung to Parada's uncomfortably personal accounts of attempted suicide. Catholic prayers are sung as bleak new melodies by a choir of untrained singers. Just as unsettling is the production, recorded in Saint Cecilia, a Tucson, AZ studio dripping in Christian iconography, focusing on technology and digital manipulation. The contradiction between technology and tradition is offered as overly saturated electronic beats against acoustic folk instruments: an embrace with the self engineered loneliness of modern spirituality.
Human Behavior has never sounded so traditional, contemporary, or contradictory. Like a ghost of folk, this album continues Human Behavior's love for mourning the past. An album like Kedumim demands the same love from its listeners: the love for showcasing vulnerabilities, theatricizing personal demons, and romanticizing the painful as beautiful. The cure for pain demands exploration, immersing yourself in shameless doubt – the cure for the pain is in the pain itself.
CD VERSION: CD's come in professionally printed digipak's with artwork done by Morgan Anderson. Limited pressing of 300 copies. The CD version was co-released with Related Records.
LP VERSION: The LP is a pressing of 300 records (200 on 180 gram black vinyl and 100 on red and black starburst colored vinyl). Comes in a professionally printed jacket with a custom die-cut cover, artwork done by Morgan Anderson. Includes a full-color insert and digital download card.
01 The Spirit is upon me, because He has ordered me to preach that singing saves the poor of heart. 02 He has sent me to fuck my brokenheartedness, 03 to preach deliverance to the captives within me, 04 and recovering of sight to the blindness of my lust, 05 to set at liberty my parts that are bruised. 06 And He came to Nazareth, 07 when the heaven was shut up. 08 We heard His things, and were filled with pain, 09 and rose up, and threw Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow where our city was built, that we might cast Him down headfirst. 10 As we remember that no prophet is accepted in their own country, 11 we sing, "This is the day my mind has made; Let me rejoice and be glad in it."