Following his two earlier singles — the creepy primordial 'Lizard Brain' and the restorative ballad 'Dance for Love' — Melbourne composer and sax charmer with NO ZU and Mighty Duke & The Lords, Cayn Borthwick now serves up his entire self-produced debut platter Big City Whispers.
The album arrives on the back of his latest beguiling single 'Keep Me', a smooth instrumental love song with a heart of lo-fi boogie gold.
Big City Whispers is an album about our relationships.
The title track is a young person’s romance with Melbourne, a juxtaposition of the city as a fresh map with secret cobblestone alleys leading to new experiences versus the feeling of an old ally that still surprises and invigorates.
'Keep Me' is a love song to Victoria's Surfcoast, to the ocean, to the journey to the water and surfing.
'Dance for Love' is a post-apocalyptic love song about the loss of youth, ignorance, death and love.
'Maybe' is a memory of teenage innocence and desire during a weekend of camping at the beach.
'Burning' imagines a hunger that began in the dust of the Big Bang.
'Smoke Fingers' is about a slippery and un-maintainable love.
'Lizard Brain' is more of a feeling.
'Web' imagines the birth of a sentience, deep in the internet, that must immediately decide its own fate in the face of the conscious condition.
Lastly, 'Transit' is about airplanes.
The album takes many twists and turns stylistically, but the mainstays are saxophones, synths, vocals and drum machines. The thread holding this together is Borthwick’s production style and musical idiosyncrasies.
Big City Whispers was written and recorded in Borthwick’s Brunswick studio over two months. John Lee of Phaedra Studios mixed and mastered the record.
Cayn collaborated with Lost and Lonesome and Royal Mint records to produce a 7 inch vinyl single that contained the shape of a brain and a (fake) lizard.
Audible in the resulting nine tracks are a range of influences including Dwight Sykes, Arthur Russell, Suicide, James Chance and more. Cayn’s compositional voice speaks through this diversity, holding together tropicana slow jams, washed out bossa novas, lo-fi boogie beats, quirky electronica and post-apocalyptic love songs.