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Shawn McNulty
Acrylic and Pumice on Canvas

Electrolyte is an original abstract painting on canvas by visual artist Shawn McNulty. This painting is is 1.5″ deep, gallery wrapped with painted edges, and ready to hang with wire on the back.

Fun Fact: Electrolytes are minerals in the body that help with many functions. We get electrolytes from fluids and food. An electrolyte imbalance can be caused by losing too many fluids from sweating or sickness, lack of eating or drinking, abnormal blood pH, and some medications such as steroids. Foods that are rich in electrolytes include spinach, turkey, potatoes, oranges and beans. My painting Electrolyte was inspired by the song by REM which was not a big hit in the United States, but was very successful in Europe. Check out the entire REM series. This painting was part of my Striations exhibition at Rosalux Gallery.

R.E.M.’s “New Adventures in Hi-Fi”: A Sonic Odyssey

Released in 1996, “New Adventures in Hi-Fi” stands as a bold and ambitious chapter in R.E.M.’s discography. This album, born out of a nomadic recording process during the band’s world tour, captures the essence of a sonic odyssey. “New Adventures in Hi-Fi” is a testament to R.E.M.’s ability to evolve while maintaining their core identity, resulting in a musical journey that traverses a diverse landscape of sound, emotion, and introspection.

Recording on the Road:

The unique genesis of “New Adventures in Hi-Fi” contributes to its distinctive character. Recorded on the road during the band’s “Monster” tour, the album captures the energy and spontaneity of live performances. This nomadic recording process not only infused the album with a sense of immediacy but also allowed R.E.M. to experiment with different sounds and atmospheres.

Diverse Soundscapes:

One of the defining features of “New Adventures in Hi-Fi” is its diverse range of soundscapes. From the haunting opening track “How the West Was Won and Where It Got Us” to the dreamy and atmospheric “Leave,” the album explores various musical territories. The bluesy undertones of “Bittersweet Me” and the alternative rock fervor of “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” showcase the band’s ability to navigate different genres while maintaining a cohesive sonic narrative.

Michael Stipe’s Evocative Lyrics:

Michael Stipe’s lyrical prowess takes center stage on this album, offering a tapestry of evocative and introspective verses. The lyrics delve into themes of disconnection, existential pondering, and the complexities of human relationships. Stipe’s cryptic yet emotionally resonant words invite listeners to interpret and connect with the songs on a personal level, adding layers of meaning to the sonic journey.

Experimental Spirit:

“New Adventures in Hi-Fi” exudes an experimental spirit that sets it apart from its predecessors. The incorporation of ambient sounds, field recordings, and unconventional instrumentation creates an immersive experience. Tracks like “E-Bow the Letter,” featuring Patti Smith, showcase a willingness to push sonic boundaries, resulting in a song that is both ethereal and haunting.

A Sonic Odyssey:

The album’s structure contributes to its sense of journey and exploration. The seamless flow from one track to the next creates a sonic odyssey, inviting the listener to embark on a musical voyage that unfolds over the course of its 65 minutes. The transitions between songs feel like chapters in a novel, each contributing to the overarching narrative of the album.

Highlights and Emotional Resonance:

“New Adventures in Hi-Fi” features standout tracks that have left a lasting impact. “Electrolite,” the album’s closing track, is a poignant and introspective gem that reflects on fame, memory, and the passage of time. The melancholic beauty of “E-Bow the Letter” and the energetic urgency of “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” add to the emotional resonance of the album, creating a dynamic and engaging listening experience.

Commercial and Critical Success:

Upon its release, “New Adventures in Hi-Fi” received both commercial success and critical acclaim. The album’s adventurous spirit was praised, and its sonic diversity resonated with fans and critics alike. While it may not have conformed to traditional commercial expectations, its artistic merit and bold exploration garnered respect within the musical landscape.

Legacy and Continued Reverence:

Over the years, “New Adventures in Hi-Fi” has continued to be revered by fans and musicians alike. Its legacy lies in its willingness to embrace experimentation and sonic diversity, paving the way for subsequent artists exploring alternative and experimental rock. The album’s ability to remain relevant and influential speaks to its enduring impact on the evolution of music.


“New Adventures in Hi-Fi” is a testament to R.E.M.’s willingness to push musical boundaries and embark on a sonic journey of exploration. Its nomadic recording process, diverse soundscapes, and evocative lyrics contribute to an album that stands as a unique and adventurous chapter in the band’s storied career. As a sonic odyssey, it invites listeners to immerse themselves in its rich tapestry of sound, emotion, and introspection, making it a timeless and compelling entry in the vast landscape of alternative rock.


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