T.O.L.D. (The Order of Life and Death) It's Not About The Witches on LP
The Order of Life and Death's Daniel James Smith has been experimenting with music since adolescence, self-releasing and collaborating in Birmingham and London's underground scenes. Inspired by Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt's 'Death and Life,' the producer took on the moniker T.O.L.D. After seeing the painting in the countryside, Dan says "those heavy feelings of darkness and hopelessness turned on their head and seemed suddenly so trivial & small," leading to his genesis.
The 25-year-old British transplant to Los Angeles will release his debut album It's Not About the Witches in June 2016 via IAMSOUND. Produced by Tom Biller (Kanye West, Sean Lennon, Karen O.) and mixed by Peter Katis (Interpol, San Fermin, Kurt Vile), T.O.L.D.'s new album showcases his deftness at weaving old-school hip-hop with modern electronica, telling stories both personal and poignant.
On "2 Young," Smith sings, "Saw it all when I was too young," a flashback of painful remembrance. "Now I lay down my head for the end/If my future should return, let me in," he continues. This progression represents a different phase of his life, the end of the song a conclusion of a personal timeline. "Master of the Species" closes the album with its most ambitious choral tune, leaving listeners with a confident, conclusive tone.
Alongside a gospel choir, T.O.L.D. blends religious synths and steel drums with lush recordings over a choral backing on "Return Forever" (co-written with Jas from Simian Mobile Disco). This ecstatic mix reflects his belief that music is a spiritual practice and also his penchant for modernizing nostalgia.
It's Not About The Witches follows T.O.L.D.'s Heaven EP (2014), produced by Birgir Þórarinsson a.k.a. Biggi of Gusgus. That EP captured "what Sam Smith would sound like with a real beat behind him" (Stereogum) and found "unexpected balances between lightness and darkness" (NY Times' T Magazine).