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Michael Stipe shares first new song since R.E.M.’s breakup

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    In the wake of R.E.M.’s break-up in 2011, frontman Michael Stipe has kept his musical activities to a minimum. His only recording to surface since then came in the form of a pirate shanty performed alongside Courtney Love. Today, however, he’s shared his first piece of original music since R.E.M.’s split, contributing an instrumental soundscape to Tom Gilroy’s new film, The Cold Lands.

    The track is a collaboration between Stipe and Andy LeMaster of Athens, GA band Now It’s Overhead. “I went to Andy knowing that if I painted myself into a corner, he’d pull me out — and also that he’d be more than a neutral engineer/collaborator to work with,” Stipe said of their collaboration. “We work really well together. This is, in fact, the first thing that I’ve done musically since R.E.M disbanded. So, of course, I wanted it to be for something that meant a lot to me. That was important.”

    Stipe played drums and keyboard, while LeMaster handled bass. “I just wanted to honor the ask and then the film, because I really loved it,” Stipe explained. “Without Tom’s influence, I probably would have done something much quieter. But I knew that he wanted something that had a beat, so that was great because it really pushed me.”

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    The track and its accompanying music video are streaming at Salon. The publication also has an extensive interview with Stipe, where he goes deeper into the songwriting process and life post-R.E.M.

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