In many ways, "What Happens When We Stop" is not what it seems. On initial appearance, the album is improvised acoustic music built on rural motifs, but once you dig deeper into the new album from Andrew Weathers Ensemble the truths become more elusive and interesting. Recorded in urban settings on both US coasts, "What Happens When We Stop" includes digital manipulation and granular cut ups -- not to mention the autotune and pitch shifting on "Hard, Ain't it Hard." Wandering acoustic jams, caustic blues patterns, and thick layers of drone all play a large part in the album, but techniques are co-opted from sound collage and even hip-hop to create a detailed musical hybrid. In the end, "What Happens When We Stop" is a rich, alluring album which reaches a confluence of styles and approaches that are both contemporary and ancient and driven as much by ensemble work as that of one mind. - Ryan Potts, Experimedia
The follow-up proper to last year's Guilford County Songs, What Happens When We Stop marks the most mature outing to date from Weathers and his band of collaborators, diving deep into the sound world Weathers has carved out over the course of several releases released through Blondena, Sleep On The Floor, Future Recordings and Full Spectrum.
Produced throughout last year, the initial recordings were made in Weathers' home state of North Carolina with a crew of his east coast friends. These tracks were then taken to his adopted home in Oakland, CA, where his west coast collaborators were given an opportunity to contribute. "The album is comprised mostly of pieces that I wrote on the acoustic guitar," Weathers explains, "but those sketches ended up creating space for these people who have never met to play together."
The album was largely conceptualized on the road, during one of Weathers' extensive tours of the United States. Ideas were toyed with in performance, undergoing an extensive process of tooling and retooling with the rotating cast of supporting musicians that joined him nightly. Once Weathers had some downtime, he took all of the audio and experience that accumulated during his months on the road and synthesized it into the album that sits before you.
The end result is a collection of delicate ballads firmly rooted in the American Primitive tradition, putting Weathers in line with lauded guitarists such as Robbie Basho and Jack Rose; but there's more at play here than mere rustic romanticism. What Happens When We Stopdraws equally from drone, classical, contemporary electronic music, sound art and even rap music, of which Weathers is a voracious consumer.