Tessellate

Album: An Awesome Wave (2012)

Songfacts®:

  • According to Alt-J frontman Joe Newman, this minimal, ominous track was written about "the lingering of an old flame and the physical intimacy shared with that particular individual."
  • The song's music video is a modern take on Renaissance painter Raphael's School of Athens. Asked by NME why the clip features a rottweiller, keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton replied: "It was meant to be some sort of 'status dog' I think. You'll notice others in a scene are taking pop. It's an edgy video."
  • An Awesome Wave won the 2012 Mercury Prize, which is awarded to the best album from the United Kingdom and Ireland.
  • Newman explained the lyric, "'Til morning comes, let's tessellate" to NME: "I wrote it when I was going out with my ex-girlfriend," he said. "I told her it was about spooning, but I've been telling everyone it's about sex! Now I don't know!"
    He added: "I started going out with someone else and the song's about getting over her while I was going out with my new girlfriend. The line 'Chunks of you will sink down to seals' is about her memory being ripped apart."
  • The line "Three guns and one goes off, one's empty, one's not quick enough," is a nod to the ending of the spaghetti western, The Good, the Bad and The Ugly.
  • This song's couplet, "Triangles are my favorite shape. Three points where two lines meet," was voted by readers of NME as their favorite lyric of 2012.

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