In Chad VanGaalen’s new animated video for “Pine and Clover”, a shape-shifter is born with the inability to form memories. Created by VanGaalen from scratch, the “Pine and Clover” video is a combination of hand drawn animation (cell animation), claymation, and paperless 2D animation.
As the singer describes it: “The style and economy of the animation is governed by my ability to sit in a chair and draw for as long as I possibly can without being distracted by my beautiful vegetable garden. Because of the garden and its beauty, I have been inspired to make most of the environments similar to what I see in the garden. So needless to say there is a lot of lettuce.”
Part of the fun of a new VanGaalen record is watching his effortless melodic sensibilities refracted through an array of stylistic filters — but a major connecting thread on Light Information is just how downright catchy the thing is. Already known for spinning an ear-worm with considerable ease, here VanGaalen is more generous than ever with his hooks, exemplified by the album’s chiming, ebullient first single, “Old Heads”. The song is a web of interlocking guitar parts and tumbling, layered percussion arrangements, atop which sit the classic VanGaalen vocals, equal parts fragile and effusive, and winding around itself in its inimitable way.
As always, VanGaalen wrote, played, and produced all of the music on the album (save Ryan Bourne’s bass part on “Mystery Elementals” and vocals on “Static Shape” from his young daughters Ezzy and Pip), and designed the cover art. Light Information emerged from the wild and weird array of vintage and exotic instruments that fill VanGaalen’s Calgary garage studio. Among them is a beloved Korg 770 mono synth, which VanGaalen coveted for years before fixing one up and devoting a lot of recent energy to recording “duets” with it. One of these, “Prep Piano and 770,” is the lone instrumental on Light Information, more atmosphere and chord bursts than the rest of the album’s hooky rock narrative. “If I was going to go out and buy a record, I would probably want it to sound only like that,” says VanGaalen. “That one’s for me.”