Earth From The Moon | Migratory Birds: Exclusive Premiere

Pluto’s former bassist returns with a preview of his forthcoming debut solo EP.

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Earth From The Moon takes flight with his soaring debut single Migratory Birds — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist.

The first preview of Vancouver singer-songwriter and former Pluto bassist John Ounpuu’s forthcoming EP Momentum, Migratory Birds delivers a mind-expanding dose of psychedelic dream-pop fashioned from swirling synthesizers, slow-twanging guitars and woozy pitch-bend sonic textures — all merging to elegantly underpin Ounpuu’s tenderly rich falsetto and poetic lyrics about mindfulness, living in the moment and pacing yourself on life’s journey.

“The lyrics were sparked by a piece in the Globe and Mail by a guy called Alex Hutchinson, from fall of 2020 — peak pandemic,” Ounpuu explains. “It was all about the concept of teleoanticipation. This idea comes from sports science. It asks: How does a knowledge of the eventual endpoint affect an experience? Which I find really interesting. It’s common to hear people refer to a pandemic as a marathon. But when you run a marathon, you know when the end is coming. So you can pace yourself.

“Migratory birds are the same way,” he continues. “They somehow have a sense of just how far they need to go. And they pace themselves accordingly, making these complex trade-offs about just how much they should eat. More food gives them more energy. But it also creates more weight and makes it harder to fly. It’s this crazy metabolic balancing act.

“A pandemic is not like this at all. We don’t know when any part of it will end. It’s just relentless uncertainty. We’re still trying to do these trade-offs. Like a marathoner or a migratory bird. But it doesn’t work. The interesting thing, though, is that they’ve found that many athletes actually perform better if they don’t know exactly when the end is coming. If you stop asking ‘Can I make it to the end?’ and instead frame it as ‘Can I keep going?’ it turns out you can dig deeper and endure longer.

“It’s a comforting thought. It reminds me of mindfulness meditation and the way it can help with anxiety … But mindfulness pulls you out of the future and back into the present. So the chorus of ‘Tomorrow is all shut down’ … on one level it’s about the pandemic and how it felt from that place of anxiety. But it’s also about the flip side of that: Letting go of tomorrow — shutting down the part of you that wants to look ahead all the time — and just being in the moment. If you can keep going, at that moment, that’s enough.”

Ounpuu is no stranger to going the distance — and letting go. Arriving on the Canadian indie rock scene in the mid-90’s with Vancouver’s Pluto, Ounpuu found himself signed to Mint Records (and then Virgin), nominated for a Juno, and embarking on tours that garnered national attention. In 1999 the group disbanded and Ounpuu took his life in another direction. But there was always something about crafting songs that stayed in the back of his mind.

He flirted with the idea of returning to music many times over the years. But the thing that finally brought him back into the creative sphere was mortality. “I was coming up on my 50th birthday. It had been 20 years since I wrote a song that more than a few people heard. I thought: if not now, when? What am I waiting for?”

Diving back in started with a laptop and eventually led to a studio on a secluded island where he recorded Momentum with the help of some Canadian rock vets. “The basic tracks were built by me in Garageband. Then they were rebuilt, piece by piece with the help of Ryan Dahle (Mounties, Limblifter, Age of Electric) at his studio on Mayne Island. Ryan’s brother Kurt (New Pornographers, Neko Case, Destroyer) was kind enough to play drums and saxophone.

The result is Momentum, due June 3. The five-song effort is an ode to self-discovery and the subtle-yet-profound moments of life, gathered into an unpredictable, vulnerable and sincere collection built on strong lyricism and dynamic musicianship.

Check out Migratory Birds above, and learn more about Earth From The Moon and John Ounpuu on his website and Instagram.