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#Bill Callahan joins Old Fire on “Mephisto”

It’s the third single from the latter act’s Iterations EP, coming Friday via Western Vinyl.

Bill Callahan joins Old Fire on “Mephisto”

Old Fire’s John Mark Lapham (left) and Bill Callahan. Photo by Deborah Cannon.


Old Fire have shared the third single from their forthcoming Iterations EP. “Mephisto” is a slow-churning sea of synths, strings, and a Rhodes organ, with Bill Callahan’s characteristically soothing vocals floating on its calm surface. “Hey, Mac / Can you bring that boat back?” he repeats as the instrumental ebbs and flows beneath him, his voice as steady as an ocean liner.

Iterations, due out this Friday, November 3, on Western Vinyl, is the follow-up to Old Fire’s 2022 sophomore album, Voids. And “Mephisto” is a rework of “Corpus,” a single from that LP (also featuring Callahan). In addition to Callahan, the forthcoming record features Joseph Shabason, Emily Cross, Thor Harris, and many others, in keeping with writer-producer John Mark Lapham’s vision of the project as a collaborative effort.

Watch the visualizer for “Mephisto” and read Lapham’s statement on Iterations below. Scroll further to stream the song on its own and view the tape’s cover art and tracklist.

“With the way I record for Old Fire, I get so much material recorded with the various contributors that it’s oftentimes hard to switch off the construction process. I get really immersed in these recordings and keep going until there’s nothing left to work on, and no further directions where these songs can go. As for the alternate versions on this mini album, ‘Blue Strings’ and ‘Mephisto,’ I got inspiration while working on the original versions, and knew there was a different way of presenting them. Especially in the case of ‘Blue Strings’ and its sister track ‘Blue Star,’ I really wanted to strip away all the drums and other dynamics and put it into this other, softer, ethereal space. I don’t see this as a remix, it’s just a different chapter for that particular story. Same for Bill’s track ‘Mephisto’ that was sourced from ‘Corpus.’ These songs felt like only half the story was told initially, so wanted to flesh out these other iterations, and see where they went. As for the other tracks on the album, these are branches stretching out of the suite that took up the second half of Voids. I kept building that suite and taking it to different places, but certainly didn’t want to present a triple album to the label, so opted to hold some back to keep it cohesive. I see these new parts as a continuation, and completion, of the story.” — John Mark Lapham

Iterations EP art and tracklist

Bill Callahan joins Old Fire on “Mephisto”

1.Blue Strings (ft. Emily Cross)

2. Mephisto (ft. Bill Callahan)

3. Void Part V: Ungone

4. Old Grief (Part I)

5. Old Grief (Part II)

6. Void Part VI: It’s Not What You Remember, It’s What You Can’t Forget

7. Void VII: Because You Are Gone

By Raphael Helfand

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