Adanowsky knows he’s embodying the fool. In tarot, The Fool card represents a free spirit, recklessness, and abandon. It’s “someone who experiments in life and goes where he has to go, goes with his passion,” says Adanowsky, the moniker for the singer, actor and producer Adán Jodorowsky.
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Learning to read tarot since he was a child, along with his father, the Chilean surrealist filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, the cards helped him connect to something more spiritual and capture some of the characters he’s embodied in music, including his tenth album The Fool.
The Fool card was one he says was always “present” in him for a long time. “It’s someone who explores who he is,” Adanowsky tells American Songwriter, walking home from the tailors in Mexico City, where has called home for seven years after residing in Los Angeles and his previous longtime home of Paris.
“He goes and lives a big adventure of life, and he doesn’t know where he goes, but he goes,” adds Adanowsky. “I grew up reading tarot when I was a kid, meditating in pink rooms and purple rooms, where we were all dressed in violet. The pillows were violet. The cars were violet, because we thought we were going to be like monks, so tarot and mysticism and spirituality is part of me. I’m not like those people that goes to Burning Man and thinks they’re spiritual. You don’t need to dress like a spiritual guide to be a spiritual.”
Spirituality, he says, isn’t an aesthetic. “Everyone is spiritual — even the shoemaker, the hat maker, and even the butcher,” says Adanowsky. “Everyone has spirituality, because we live in this mystery, the world and in the universe, and we don’t know where we are. We’re just here and it’s like we’re living in Disneyland.”
Self-produced, along with French singer Victor Mechanick, and recorded in Mexico City, the songs on The Fool were written by Adanowsky during the pandemic, and follows his msot recent Latin-folk album Escencia Solar, which he released as Adán Jodorowsky. This new alter ego is one that represents his music, now. As Adán Jodorowsky, he says he was more focused on producing music for other artists and forgot about his own music. On The Fool, it’s more about the music he want to hear without concern over its success or how many people stream it.
“With this album, I asked ‘What is the music I would listen to?” he says. “‘Would I listen to this song?’ I wanted to reconnect with my feelings, my tastes — everything.”
To capture the specific sounds he pictured on each track, Adanowsky pulled from his own personal collection of vintage analog equipment, 1960s guitars and other instruments he’s collected over the past 20 years.
Working out of his own studio in Mexico City, Adanowsky transported his collection of instruments from his former home in Paris and created his own musical time capsule. “It was like a time machine this studio,” he says. “For me, the base of an album is the sound of the drums, so I took two days to get a proper sound, and then everything became easy around the drum sounds. I have pianos from the 19th century and ’60s guitars, and even recorded on a tape machine.”
He jokes, “I invested everything in gear and not in a house.”
On the surface, The Fool is a breakup album, he says, and a collection of songs that predominantly came to him in a trance. Subconsciously shifting scenes, each song plays like a different short film, moving from English with the opening “When the Angel Comes,” featuring the hypnotic vocals from Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O, to Spanish. “Noche Fria” (Cold Night), “El Adios” (The Goodbye), and “Todos es Perfecto” (Everything is Perfect), are all different scenes of a breakup.
Filling out the vocals on some of the English tracks, Beck joins Adanowsky on the funk-submerged “Chain Reactionary.”
The Fool also features Adanowsky’s tribute to his father, “Alejandro,” a favorite director of John Lennon, who also helped finance his 1973 film, The Holy Mountain. At 94, Alejandro is working on a new film, says Adán—who coincidentally got his first guitar lesson from George Harrison—the third piece of his trilogy of films, which started with The Dance of Reality in 2013 and continued with his 2016 installment, Endless Poetry. The latter film also starred Adán, who has a main role in the forthcoming third part.
“It’s [the song] about the beauty of my father,” he says. “Everyone, we have issues with our parents, but this focuses on the beautiful things. This album is a lot of that. It’s focused on the beauty and the miracles and on the light.”
Adanowsky has always approached each song like a movie with the accompanying videos for The Fool as short films, including the more black and white horror, sci-fi visuals of “When the Angel Comes,” which also featured his brother actor and director Brontis Jodorowsky and nephew Dante. Keeping within the family affair, the disco-tinged “You Want to Give Up,” also features his niece Iris Jodorowsky on the streets of Paris.
For Adanowsky—also an actor who starred in multiple films, including his father’s 1989 film, Santa Sangre, and most recently in Endless Poetry, as well as directed, and helmed several films, including the 2012 short film The Voice Thief, starring Asia Argento—the visuals and music are symbiotic.
“I did some soundtracks, and I grew up being in movies and doing theater and everything, so for me all the visual art is very important,” shares Adanowsky. “When I compose a song, I have images. Sometimes I have songs that come after a dream. In my dream, I compose the song. I think half of this album was composed after dreaming because I do a lot of exercises of lucid dreams. I do an exercise where I compose in my lucid dreams.”
Not interested in performing “normal” shows, Adanowsky said his tour around The Fool will be staged as something more eccentric and theatric.
Though The Fool once embodied Adanowsky, he says he already moved on to his next … ”role” in music.
“All the albums represent me in a moment of my life,” Adanowsky says. “This one [‘The Fool’] is a moment in my life, but it’s not me anymore. I feel connected with it but it doesn’t represent who I am, now, in the present moment. I’m like a mutant and changing every day.”
He adds, “I’m going to do a character in each album. I did a little on Amador [2010 album]. I want to explore all my many faces.”
Photos by Eloise Labarbe / The Syndicate