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Carolina Performing Arts Blog

Explore Gabriel Kahane’s World with “The Ambassador Atlas”

// Oct 1,2014

What is the Ambassador Atlas?


“The Ambassador Atlas is intended as a companion to the eponymous album, which is itself an exploration of Los Angeles through the lens of ten street addresses scattered around the city. I wanted to write songs about LA in order to make sense of the palpable sadness that radiates unpredictably from its strip malls, billboards, low slung bungalows, mythic steakhouses, and storied hotels. That sadness. It exists in stark contrast to the prevailing mythology of a Los Angeles defined by the effortless (or is it effortful?) sheen of Hollywood, of endless possibility, the lure of the Pacific, of orange groves and of subdivisions that express the American Dream.

In the course of my research- yes, I did a fair amount of research to write a bunch of pop songs- I encountered books and movies and buildings that all informed how the songs were written. Given how much I drew on this wealth of information in writing the record, I thought it might be nice to offer a window into that process through this web site, and to create a resource for listeners whose curiosity compels them to dig deeper into these songs and their subject matter.

For each of the songs, there is a pin at the location of the street address in the title. Clicking on a pin will give you bits of information about the address, as well as a photograph. In addition to the ten pins for the tracks on the album, we?ve included several ancillary pins for addresses that are obliquely or explicitly referenced in the lyrics of various songs. Hope you enjoy!”

– Gabriel Kahane

Explore the Atlas