Ben Zaidi Releases Deluxe Version of Debut Album ‘Acre of Salt’ OUT TODAY

November 18, 2022 BY Claire Julian

Artist and poet Ben Zaidi shares the deluxe version of his highly acclaimed debut studio album, Acre of Salt. The deluxe sees the addition of nine unreleased tracks that were written along with the original eleven but cut due to length restrictions. The album was recorded with producer Tony Berg (Phoebe Bridgers, Peter Gabriel, Beck) at the iconic Sound City Studios in LA along with backing band members Ethan Gruska, Sebastian Steinberg (Fiona Apple,) saxophonist Sam Gendel and Kane Ritchotte (Portugal. The Man.) Listen HERE and watch/share the official video for the new track “Gen Zero” HERE.

Zaidi explains, “I wrote more songs for this album than any project I’ve ever made. In the studio, we made some truly excruciating cuts to get it down to the 11 songs that ultimately became Acre of Salt. Tony and I nearly came to blows over whether or not to include a couple tracks… So now, after much mediation and couple’s counseling, we have decided to share these nine songs that we loved too much to confine to the dustbin of history.”

Today he also shares the visualizer for the new track, “Gen Zero.” He adds, “One of the most persistent themes of the album was this idea of a ‘generation with no destination.’ There’s a famous abandoned highway offramp near Seattle where I was trying to shoot the album cover that inspired the lyrics ‘a six-lane highway running out of road.’ It was this bridge to nowhere that the city must’ve stopped building when money ran out or plans changed. Just a stretch of highway emptying out into the sky. We used to jump off it into Lake Washington as kids. But when I went back to try and find it to shoot the album cover, it was gone. It had been torn down. No picture could be a better metaphor than that.”

WATCH + SHARE “GEN ZERO”

Born and raised in Seattle, Zaidi is a Harvard-educated poet whose debut album explores a variety of themes: death, racial identity, quarter-life changes and the loss of innocence that comes with a rapidly decaying planet. Growing up with a lot of Northwest music influences, ultimately lyric-heavy albums such as Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin’ and The Freewheelin Bob Dylan, as well as Joni Mitchell’s Blue, were in heavy rotation while writing his new album. 

Much of the record was influenced by a long drive down I-95 from Brooklyn to Florida to visit a friend who had been diagnosed with Stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and going through chemo. “And that obviously was the first smack in the face of, ‘Oh, we’re not invincible anymore’ It’s not like, ‘Oh our whole life is ahead of us stretching out in front of us,’ but instead there is a certain frailty that this is all precariously balanced on. And I think the album’s grappling with that.”

ACRE OF SALT. DELUXE TRACKLIST

* unreleased song

  1. Going On Gone.
  2. Ben Zaidi’s Blues.
  3. 2013.
  4. Gibreel.
  5. Listless.
  6. Orlando.
  7. Scripture in the Sand.
  8. Only Forever.
  9. Jerusalem.
  10. Younger with Time.
  11. Eucharist.
  12. Tampa.*
  13. Ricochet.*
  14. Thoughts & Prayers.*
  15. Gen Zero.*
  16. 20/20. *
  17. Daedalus.*
  18. Glass Jaw.*
  19. Shoulder Season.*
  20. Google Maps.*