Robert Harrison

The former front man of the long-running, traditional Austin pop combo Cotton Mather has brought together a sprawling and ambitious ensemble with a self-titled new project, Future Clouds and Radar (The Star Apple Kingdom).

Why this different direction? After Cotton Mather, I was laid up for some time with a spine problem, and getting beyond it required a complete psychic, spiritual overhaul. I left music. And when I returned, I decided the new expression should be a truer extension of the spirit. I’ve always reacted against the commodity-driven notion that artistry is strongest when it’s monochromatic. I still wanted to create rooms, but the walls had to go. Now it’s a freewheelin’, paint-splattering, horn-blowin’, kitchen-sink world where guitars still rule the roost. And it’s a dude fest no more. With women in the group, the energy balances.

You’re about to release a double-CD debut, an uncommon move for a new band. Why so many songs? Anything less was an incomplete thought, and my attempts to abbreviate down to one disc were pathetic. It’s all incredibly presumptuous. I should add that it was originally going to be three discs, so be grateful.

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