Elvis Costello Tells a Tale of Orson Welles in ‘Phonographic Memory’
Set in a futuristic post-war era, “Phonographic Memory” is a spoken word track over an open-tuned acoustic guitar in which Costello tells a tale involving a recording of Orson Welles’ voice and someone known simply as “President Swift.”
“After the peace was negotiated and the Internet switched off,” Costello intones, “knowledge returned to its medieval cloister, in this and that illuminated volume, the jealous possession of the pious and the superstitious, who might once again wield ignorance like a scythe.”
“Phonographic Memory” will be available for digital download exclusively as a B-side, in the tradition of past Costello releases like “My Funny Valentine,” “Big Tears” and “Hoover Factory.” Costello also teased that a next installment of the story will be coming on September 11th.
“I wanted the record to be vivid, whether the songs demanded playing that was loud and jagged or intimate and beautiful,” Costello has stated about the record.