Back on April Fool's Day, I posted about The Music of the Beatles as Channeled in 1958 by the Echo Lake Home for the Potentially Clairvoyant, a spooky transmedia project of telepathic Beatles covers created by Hallelujah the Hills, a band who SPIN Magazine once called "criminally underappreciated." It's a neat musical/fiction experiment that's still worth checking out (even without the illusion of April Fool's Day).
To follow up that ambitious scheme, Hallelujah the Hills has announced a new project called DECK — a 52-song collection, with one song for every card in a playing card deck. From the band's newsletter:
Here's how DECK is going to work: 52 songs spread out over four 13 song albums, one for each suit. Diamonds: a proper studio follow up to I'm You.Clubs: lo-fi faster, punkier, dirtier songs. Hearts: a sparser, mostly acoustic, yet carefully orchestrated, album full of weepers. Spades: a free-form, experimental record. ♣ ♦ ♥ ♠, get it?
The project is being released on an ongoing basis through Patreon, though the completed albums will of course be compiled together and released in the normal music places later on (and of course, those releases will come with their own specially-designed decks of cards as well). In a free post there, the band goes into a little more detail on the project too:
Playing it close to the chest, play your cards right, use your trump card, it's a house of cards, it's not in the cards, the hand you've been dealt in life, the cards are stacked against you, you have an ace up your sleeve, she's a wild card, let's lay our cards on the table, show your hand, he's a few cards short of a deck, let's raise the stakes, he'll follow suit, I've got an ace in the hole, like a royal flush, oh wow, he doubled down, keep it above board, deal me in, call your bluff, she's got a great poker face, I've got it in spades…the language of the deck is absolutely baked into our everyday speech.
I started to notice all this because I kept asking myself, "What is the most common nod to magic or the occult in our modern culture? What's the most out-there thing that's been so normalized and absorbed into present day society that we don't even notice it anymore?" I'd like to make the case that it's playing cards. The deck. From the beginning, in the 1300's, playing cards were used as a form of divination—cartology, sortilege—and they are the direct ancestor of the Tarot card. It is a tightly designed and engineered symbol system imbued with mystery, magic, history and power and it is literally everywhere. We use the deck for games, gambling, prediction, scams, magic tricks, mathematical probability models, as a medium for secret messages and now, we're going to use the structure of a deck to create an ambitious music project called DECK.
It's definitely an ambitious project, but I'm excited to see where it goes. The two songs released so far — the 3 of Clubs' "Superglued to You" and the Jack of Diamonds' "God Is So Lonely Tonight" — are both cool on their own.
DECK [Hallelujah the Hills / Patreon]