Southern California-bred musician Zooey Celeste has signed to ATO Records, announcing his debut album, Restless Thoughts, out November 3rd, and has released the lead single/title track. Produced and recorded by acclaimed artist Nick Hakim at his Brooklyn studio, Restless Thoughts centers on Zooey’s hypnotic baritone vocals, often set against a strangely potent backdrop of sparse drum-machine beats and droney guitar tones. The result is a fully-realized soundscape, a darkly ethereal palette which Zooey classifies as astral-pop.
Restless Thoughts takes its title from a song inspired by a particularly dramatic scene in Zooey’s novel, a metaphysical thriller narrated by the character of Zooey Celeste. “It’s a scene where the father of the protagonist has destroyed his marriage and left his daughter behind, and he’s going to meet his mistress and driving in a very suicidal headspace,” he explains. “He gets into a car accident, and two-thirds of the way into the song he’s floating above his body and watching as they’re trying to resuscitate him.”
Restless Thoughts is the real-life manifestation of its creator’s alter ego — an astral shaman responsible for leading the newly departed into the great beyond. After dreaming up the character of Zooey Celeste in a feverishly written novel he refers to as “somewhere between Quentin Tarantino and the Bhagavad Gita,” Zooey began working with longtime friend Nick Hakim (whose production credits also include Lil Yachty and Lianne La Havas) to create this ideal soundtrack for nocturnal driving, an immediate conduit for lasting transcendence. Alongside Hakim, Zooey enlisted a wide array of guest musicians to flesh out the sound of Restless Thoughts, including Unknown Mortal Orchestra bassist Jake Portrait, drummer Abe Rounds (Andrew Bird, Blake Mills, Devandra Banhart), and Columbian-Canadian singer/songwriter Tei Shi. Mastered by Heba Kadry (Ryuichi Sakamoto, Björk, Julianna Barwick), Restless Thoughts endlessly drifts between avant-punk and chamber-pop and lo-fi psychedelia, quickly drawing the listener into a sustained dream state.