Michael Stipe & Big Red Machine remind us that there’s “No Time For Love Like Now”
Although Big Red Machine began in 2008 as a collaboration between The National’s Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, it has taken on a completely new shape in recent years. In 2018, Big Red Machine released their self-titled debut, featuring nearly 40 collaborators; instead of a duo, the group has become a highly collaborative collective, constantly featuring new artists and new ideas.
“No Time For Love Like Now,” Big Red Machine’s first single since their debut two years ago, features Dessner’s sharp songwriting and Vernon’s delicate guitar. They’re supported by a cast of high-profile collaborators, including R.E.M. vocalist Michael Stipe, Brad Cook (who has producd The War on Drugs), Minneapolis drummer JT Bates (who has collaborated with Lizzo), Thomas Bartlett aka Doveman, (Nico Muhly, Sufjan Stevens), Clarice Jensen (Bjork, Nick Cave) and Yuki Numata Resnick (Beirut, Blonde Redhead).
The new single features Stipe’s reedy vocals, which fit smoothly in the collective’s signature folktronica production style. Pattering bass drums provide a steadfast foundation to the mix; while synth, piano, guitar, and strings offer melodic support. Stipe sings “where did this all begin to change / the lockdown memories can’t sustain / this glistening, hanging free fall,” in the chorus, grounding the track firmly in our uncertain, anxiety-filled, isolating present.
Big Red Machine’s “No Time For Love Like Now” is out now via 37d03d. Listen here, and stream the music video (directed by Michael Brown) below.