Serj Tankian has recorded and is currently mixing a new studio album, titled Imperfect Harmonies, which will be the follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2007 solo debut Elect the Dead.
As with Elect the Dead, Tankian is producing Imperfect Harmonies himself at his home studio in Los Angeles. The album will be released by Serjical Strike/Reprise Records in late summer.
"Elect the Dead is essentially a rock record with progressive melodic elements," Tankian says. "Imperfect Harmonies could be classified as rock because it is punchy with many peaks throughout, but the instrumentation is somewhat different. Though there are live drums, bass, and some guitars, the driving aspects are electronic and orchestral. It's quite unique in its sound palette. This is, in essence, music that has sat in the vat and matured to a ripe sensation and is now ready to serve."
So far, Imperfect Harmonies is shaping up to be as powerful and musically eclectic as its predecessor. "I have been calling the music 'electro-orchestral-jazz-rock' because it has all of those aspects in prominence within the songs," Tankian says. "A few are more stripped down, but the majority of the songs have this huge wall of sound presented in a way I've never heard before. It's not common to have a song that is both electronic and orchestral since one is synthetic and the other organic, but I found a way of meshing a lot of these colors together."
The album has been influenced by Tankian's experience making Elect the Dead Symphony, a symphonic interpretation of his debut that had its inaugural performance in New Zealand with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in March 2009. The performance has been captured on the recently released CD/DVD Elect the Dead Symphony.
"The making of Elect the Dead Symphony gave me the confidence and tools to create ensemble pieces for orchestra more confidently and effectively than before," Tankian says. "And that became one of the primary colors for this record along with electronic, jazz, and live instrumentation."
Once again, Tankian's album takes a multi-themed approach to the lyrics, which he describes as addressing the political, environmental, social, and personal. "There is a slightly eerie urgency this time around though," he says. "It's darker and more dense in approach, both lyrically and musically."
"My intentions have always been to make music that is creative, quality, and moving," he continues. "I have never learned the static method of repeating myself musically whether in System or now. Each record I have made has been different musically, yet they all carry the same integral spirit."