Time Smoking a Picture, the upcoming full-length LP from Host, is the result of attempts to mimic classical compositions with comparatively crude instrumentation—electric guitar, grand piano, cello, and snare drum. The album is a departure from Host’s 2014 eponymous debut as it shifts away from loop-based music onto linear musical structures—resulting in a 31 minute piece of music comprised of distinct but connected segments.
Trained on classical piano and guitar, Alex Maddalena (Host) wrote the album after revisiting a binder of classical sheet music from his childhood and finding unexpected tonal links between his recent ambient guitar experimentation and centuries-old piano compositions.
The album title comes from a William Hogarth etching of the same name, which depicts Father Time’s scythe piercing a painting while he blows smoke onto it. The etching is a critique of the once-popular notion that art improved with time, and hints that there is often a false reverence of timeworn classics. (“Time is not a beautifier, but a destroyer.”) The result is a pastiche of these influences—soaring guitar melodies, ambient builds, cello dirges, and oblique military marches. The album was recorded in 4 different houses on the East Coast of the United States over the course of 3 years.
released January 19, 2018
All music by Alex Maddalena
Cello performed by Robert Yang
Additional engineering by Steven Ross
Mastered by Machines With Magnets in Pawtucket, Rhode Island