HMLTD have released an ambitious three-part single as their first new offering since their debut LP West of Eden last year.
‘Don’t Leave Me’, ominously subtitled with the parenthetical ‘(Chapter 1: Despair)’, along with it’s companion pieces ‘Love Is Not Enough (Chapter 2: Grief)’ and ‘Do This By Yourself (Chapter 3: Wrath)’, are part of a larger project called ‘Leaving’, described by the band as “dynamic musical artwork”.
“‘Don’t Leave Me’ is just one of 6400 unique versions of this composition – not trivially different, but each one its very own song,” the band explains. “The different layers which make up the composition are available for auction in collaboration with our partners, Async. Layer owners have the power to change their part of the song, and decide which of the 6400 unique forms it takes. The master song will respond in real-time to these inputs, existing as a permanently ever-changing song in a constant state of flux. This song, the first-ever of its kind, will be hosted on both the Async gallery website and our website for everyone to listen to, as it passes through its metamorphic life.”
If you ever wanted to have a direct influence on an artist’s composition, this is the most direct chance you’ll get. The band has made all facets of the composition and arrangement of this project customisable, giving their audience an unprecedented amount of influence over the group’s recorded output.
“We believe ‘Leaving’ represents a new frontier in what art and music is, and should do,” the band continues. “Both an experiment in storytelling, in sonic variations, in the value of art and in the relationship between audience, collector and artist. The stem owners can change who sings the vocal part, what the lyrics are, what the main melody is, what instrument plays the bass line, what kind of drumming style underpins the performance.”
From a purely economic standpoint, this move is genius: reserve prices are in the low tens of thousands of U.S. dollars, and there’s a current bid on the master track priced at over $60,000. As music, it could be an absolute disaster if the buyer decides to pair the least-harmonious parts together in a large scale troll of the band, but as art, it’s fascinating.
Listen to ‘Don’t Leave Me (Chapter 1: Despair)’ down below.