Episode 195: Julian Koster
Neutral Milk Hotel two albums surely cast a long shadow on all involved. Multi-instrumentalist Julian Koster has never shied away from his role in the band — both reuniting with the group and supporting frontman Jeff Mangum in recent years — but all the while the musician has been building a singular body of work all his own, both as a solo artist and through his on-going project, the Music Tapes.For anyone who’s seen the latter in a live setting, it’s clear that Koster is, above all, a storyteller. The band act features a seven-foot-tall metronome and a talking tube television. It’s a living circus built around strange tales and Koster’s songs — very much a product of the Elephant 6 Collective from which it sprung, while remaining uniquely his own. When it was first announced that Koster was working on a podcast with the team behind Welcome to Nightvale, it was clearly serendipity. Three episodes in, podcasting has proven the perfect medium for the musician’s world building, manifesting itself as a sort of classic radio drama beamed from the top of the Eiffel Tower. It’s idiosyncratic and fascinating, a perfect encapsulation of what Koster does best. And yes, he wore the hat.