Mutable Set is Grammy-winning guitarist, composer, and producer Blake Mills' fourth studio album, crafted as a soundtrack to the emotional dissonance of modern life. The record reflects the push and pull of opposing forces: harmony and eerie dissonance, orchestral crescendos and moments of near silence, melodic yet unresolving chord progressions. The sonically warm album holds Mills' guitar fingerpicking, gentle piano and melancholy tenor at its center.
"This record deals with an awareness of two things – people and experiences in life that are precious, and whatever waits down the moat for something to drop," says Mills. "I've seen the phrase ‘mutable set' used to describe theater backdrops and set props, things like that. And ‘mute' might be one of the best musical terms ever invented. So ‘Mutable Set' is a term that deals with anything that could change or be lost all together."
Lyrically, Mills partnered with his friend, the songwriter Cass McCombs, for parts of Mutable Set. Ranging from narrative to impressionistic the songs address the multiplicity of modern life. Quiet dissatisfaction segues to bracing optimism – and, often, back again. Recorded at the iconic Sound City Studios in Los Angeles, Mutable Set finds Mills joined by Aaron Embry on keys (Elliot Smith, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros), Sam Gendel on saxophone (Vampire Weekend, Moses Sumney), Rob Moose on strings (Alabama Shakes, Bon Iver), Abe Rounds (Meshell Ndegocello, Andrew Bird) on drums and Pino Palladino (The Who, D'Angelo) on bass.