Fear Of The Dawn

Jack White

Fear Of The Dawn

“Every time I go in, I'm trying to do something I haven't done before,” Jack White tells Apple Music. “And it's not like something that other people have never done before. It’s whatever it is to get me to a different zone so I'm not repeating myself.” On Fear of the Dawn—the first of two solo LPs White is releasing in 2022, and the first in over four years—that zone is the world of digital studio effects, new territory for an artist who’s long been an avatar and champion for all matters analog. Here, working in lockdown and playing most of the instruments himself as a result, White’s challenged himself to make a rock record that’s every bit as immediate and textured as what he’s made before. The guitars are scrambled and fried, blown out and buffed to an often blinding shine (see: the crispy title track; “The White Raven”). Keys squiggle and giggle (“Morning, Noon and Night”), drums stutter and skitter and hiccup (“That Was Then, This is Now,” “What’s the Trick?”). It’s a real studio record, saturated and collage-like—White flexing his muscles as a producer. “I don't know how many, but there's dozens and dozens of tracks,” he says of the recording process. “I never used to do that. I made mistakes—I would play drums last, which you're not supposed to do. But then I started to feed off of that. I liked that it was wrong. It's nice that time goes on and you get better at certain things in the studio.” And having been so dogmatic from the start—famously dedicated to tape, vinyl, and primary colors—White sounds free to experiment on Fear of the Dawn, whether he’s dusting off a Cab Calloway sample and joining forces with Q-Tip for “Hi-De-Ho” or pasting together shards of radioactive guitar and mutating vocals on “Into the Twilight.” But that doesn’t mean he’s any less disciplined. “It's delicate—when you have eight tracks only, there's not much you can do,” he says. “If someone says you can have as many tracks as you want, now you got to be your own boss. You got to be hard on yourself. All the years of the razor blade editing gets you to a point where I don't want to waste my energy on that when I could put that energy to this now.”

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