Over the course of its 12 songs, Multitudes affirms Leslie Feist’s ability to construct elaborate sonic worlds by following her singular songwriting to its most poetic yet unbridled expression.
Multitudes took shape soon after the birth of Feist's daughter and sudden death of her father, a back-to-back convergence of life-altering events that left the Canadian singer/songwriter with “Nothing performative in me anymore.” As she cleansed her songwriting of any tendency to obscure unwanted truths, Feist slowly made her way toward a batch of songs rooted in a raw and potent realism which is touched with otherworldly beauty.
“The last few years were such a period of confrontation for me, and perhaps it felt that way to some degree for everyone,” explains Feist. “We confronted ourselves as much as our relationships confronted us. It felt like our relational ecosystems were clearer than ever and so whatever was normally obscured - like a certain way of avoiding conflict or a certain way of talking around the subject - were thrust into an unavoidable light. It became a chance to find footing on more honest ground when the effort to maintain altitude actually took more effort than just handing ourselves over to the truth.”
Largely written and workshopped during an intensely communal experimental show of the same name through 2021 and 2022, the songs on Multitudes developed in parallel with and were deeply influenced by the mutuality of the unconventional experience. The production, developed by Feist with legendary designer Rob Sinclair (David Byrne’s American Utopia, Peter Gabriel, Tame Impala) was formulated to bring people together as they re-emerged from lockdown while providing an outlet for connection between artist, art, and community.
For the recording, Feist returned to her 2011 collaboration with Lackritz and Mocky, who made her third album Metals in a converted barn in Big Sur. This time, Lackritz and engineer Michael Harris (Haim, Lana Del Rey, Vampire Weekend) built a studio in Northern California next to the Redwood Forest, where Feist was joined by multi-instrumentalists Gabe Noel (Kendrick Lamar, Harry Styles, Kamasi Washington), Shahzad Ismaily (Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Tom Waits), and her regular cast, Todd Dahlhoff (woodwinds, synths, bass) and Amir Yaghmai (strings, guitars), plus a guest appearance from longtime collaborator Chilly Gonzales.
Born in Nova Scotia but mostly raised in Calgary, Feist first explored her idiosyncratic musicality by playing in a local punk band as a teenager and later made her debut with 1999’s Monarch (Lay Your Jewelled Head Down), an independent release primarily sold at merch tables. Along with co-founding Juno Award-winning indie-rock collective Broken Social Scene, Feist next achieved breakout success with her full-length sophomore effort Let It Die, winner of Alternative Album of the Year at the 2004 Juno Awards. Released in 2007, The Reminder earned international acclaim and landed on best-of-the-year lists from outlets like Pitchfork, NPR, Spin, and Rolling Stone, in addition to winning Feist the 2007 Shortlist Music Prize and garnering four Grammy Award nominations. In 2011, Feist returned with the Polaris Music Prize-winning Metals, named the best album of the year by New York Times chief popular music critic Jon Pareles. With AV Club hailing 2017’s Pleasure as her “most daring work to date” and NPR praising the album as “wrenching in its honesty,” Feist went on to premiere the Pleasure Studies podcast in 2019 - awarded “Podcast of the Year” by Apple Podcasts - and soon began developing the Multitudes live show, a boundary-pushing collaboration conceived by Feist and Robbie Lackritz and developed with artist/filmmaker Colby Richardson, artist Heather Goodchild, and artistic producer Mary Hickson.