Phish keyboardist Page McConnell has released his new ambient instrumental solo album, Maybe We’re The Visitors, available now on all digital platforms via Keyed Records.
Recorded entirely by McConnell using only synthesizers, the album was written and recorded in both Reykjavik, Iceland, and Burlington, VT. The new “ambient electronic” release from McConnell comes with album liner notes by Rolling Stone‘s David Fricke.
As Fricke explains of Maybe We’re The Visitors in an excerpt from his liner notes circulated to the press,
In January 2020, shortly before the coronavirus shut down modern life, including travel, McConnell took a road trip that had nothing to do with his normal touring itinerary as the keyboard player in Phish: a holiday in Iceland. Inevitably, music got made there. But it was unlike anything McConnell had recorded before as a solo artist, for side projects or within the collaborative energies of Phish: fully electronic pieces created on location, in response to the epic landscapes, dramatic weather, and geologic fury that he experienced in Iceland. He also came back energized and determined to keep going amid, indeed despite, lockdown.
Maybe We’re The Visitors is the result: an imaginary voyage charged with eyewitness awe and intense, solitary reflection; expressed without lyrics, vocals or any sign of piano, organ or clavinet, McConnell’s signature armory with Phish. The album is his third solo outing – following 2007’s song-based Page McConnell and a 2013 instrumental release, Unsung Cities and Movies Never Made – and a genuine breakthrough: the first McConnell has conceived and performed entirely with synthesizers. Maybe We’re the Visitors is also the most personal record he has ever made because it is an album that has been on his mind for a long time.
The narrative flow of Maybe We’re The Visitors – exploration, colony and, finally warning; that, as Icelanders already know, we are only stewards here and nature always has the last word – did not present itself “until I was close to the end,” McConnell confesses. “But I always knew there was something alien about these pieces…”
Ahead of the album’s release, Page sat down for an interview with SiriusXM Phish Radio‘s Ari Fink about the concept’s genesis, the role that Iceland played in its creation, and how the chaos of 2020 allowed him to attain a long-held musical goal.
As he recalled thinking when he was in high school, “Someday I will have synthesizers, and someday I hope that I can use these synthesizers and … I’ll have enough musical competence that the sounds from the synthesizers will be able to inspire me to play just by what they sound like and create sounds that don’t sound like other instruments and enhance melodies and chords and compositions that don’t sound like other compositions. So I credit the instruments themselves as inspiration [for the album]. … I really can distinctly remember having that thought.”
Page also credited “collecting synthesizers through the 90s and looking for the vintage stuff” and confirmed that this project was indeed a product of his pandemic-imposed 2020 downtime: “Now having this time to experiment… had it not been for lockdown, I don’t know that this would have happened,” he noted.
Stream the new Page McConnell album Maybe We’re The Visitors in its entirety and check out a visualizer video for the lead single “Radio Science” below. For more information on the new release, head here.
Page McConnell – Maybe We’re The Visitors – Full Album
Page McConnell – “Radio Silence” – Official Visualizer Video