Premiere: Robert Stillman Shares New Single “It’s All Is” | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, March 23rd, 2023  

Premiere: Robert Stillman Shares New Single “It’s All Is”

New LP What Does it Mean to Be American? Coming January 21st via Orindal Records / KIT Records

Dec 15, 2021 Photography by Anna Fewster
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Next year, multi-faceted creative Robert Stillman is set to release his eighth studio album, What Does it Mean to Be American. Like his previous records, his newest work is almost entirely instrumental and constructed through hours of meticulous studio curation, layering together dozens of instrumental improvisations, all played by Stillman himself. Stillman moves effortlessly between genres, incorporating elements of jazz, drones, chamber music, psychedelia, and more into his potent experimental concoction.

As he describes, he began with the intention of “...removing any sense of filter on the creative impetus. Much of this work was made very quickly and intuitively; the idea was to remove as many barriers as possible between gut-level expressions and the sound result, to essentially dream these tracks directly into existence.” Stillman debuted the album’s lead single “Cherry Ocean” last month and today he’s shared his latest single “It’s All Is,” premiering with Under the Radar.

Following right after “Cherry Ocean,” the record’s opener and longest track, “It’s All Is” is a comparatively scant two and a half minutes, almost all of which revolves around an alluring central saxophone riff. The track’s jazzy riff takes center stage but beneath Stillman crafts an intoxicating mix of clarinet, piano, and more, each played by Stillman himself. Each piece interlocks into place, creating a warm, loose, and casually inviting instrumental piece. Finally, the song descends into an ambient drone for its final moments, with Stillman continuing to prod at genre confines to the very end.

Meanwhile, the accompanying video attaches unheard lyrics to the track, making the song’s internal meaning explicit. As a dashcam recording of Stillman plays lyrics flash on the screen一“Suffering / Rejoicing / It’s all is / Good times / Bad times / It’s all is / Laughing / Crying / It’s all is.”

Stillman says of the track: “‘It’s All Is’ is a ‘goodtime’ instrumental song recorded in my studio in Margate, Kent. I’m playing the instruments tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, drums, Fender Rhodes, piano, and tambourine.

The song is about the mindset in which judgment of one’s experience as “good” or “bad” is suspended, and can be acknowledged as what it is- BEING- and therefore dealt with.

The working title of the piece was “It’s All Good”, which is a colloquialism (along with, ‘Good Times’, and ‘Life is Good’, etc.) that I’ve always thought quite useful, but only if the ‘all’ part really included ALL, that is, the ‘bad’ too. I’m not sure that that’s the popular interpretation though, so to clarify, I settled on the title ‘It’s All IS’ which feels more to the point: nothing under the sun ‘isn’t’ and therefore everything must be acknowledged!”

Check out the song and video below. Pre-order What Does it Mean to Be American? here, out January 21st via Orindal Records / KIT Records.


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