Exquisite Corpse / Various (Concrete Gray W/ Red)
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During the first days of quarantine lockdown, Kaia Fischer of Rainer Maria began to conceptualize what would grow into Exquisite Corpse while meditating on the newly unfolding weirdness they and their creative friends were experiencing. Exquisite Corpse is a real-time sonic experiment intended to open the door for the label's wide-ranging talents to create something beautiful in the midst of upheaval. In total, 47 participants rounded out 11 groups of 4-5 musicians assembled more or less at random from all ends of the Polyvinyl family tree. Each team worked from scratch to write an original song, an adaptation of the 'Exquisite Corpse' game where each player adds to a shared drawing. Musically, the results are every bit as exciting and unpredictable as the concept envisioned, with collaborators spanning the globe - from London, Tokyo, Nova Scotia, LA, New Zealand, and Louisville. Artists known for sparkling pop worked with more ragged rockers or folks from acoustic-leaning emo bands, and the end results defied the expected sum of their parts. Even though Exquisite Corpse is timestamped with traces of overwhelming uncertainty that colored the pandemic's earliest days, the music is by-and-large joyful, daring and fun. With contributions from longtime label signees like Xiu Xiu, Braid, American Football, and Mark Duplass of Volcano, I'm Still Excited!! to more recent roster additions such as Palehound, Kero Kero Bonito, Jeff Rosenstock, Yumi Zouma, and Anamanaguchi - Exquisite Corpse captures the spirit of kinship and community that is foundational to Polyvinyl's Midwest roots.