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Tom Morello is living proof of the transformative power of rock ’ n ’ roll. As the co-founder of Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave and Prophets Of Rage, a nd through collaborations with everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Johnny Cash, he has continuall y pushed the limits of what one man can do with six strings. But on his latest album The Atlas Underground , he ’ s transformed his sound into something even he could not have anticipated, blending Marshall stack riff- rock with the digital wizardry of EDM and hip- hop to create the most ambitious artistic effort of his st oried career. The Atlas Underground includes collaborations with Marcus Mumford, Portugal. The Man, the Wu- Tang Clan ’ s RZA and GZA, Vic Mensa, K.Flay, Big Boi, Gary Clark Jr., Pretty Lights, Killer Mike and Whethan among others. “ The riffs and the beats led the way, but the extraordi nary talents of the collaborators set my creativity into uncharted territor y, ” says Morello of the project, which will be released October 12 th , 2018 by Mom + Pop Music. Assembled over the last two years in a variety of studio s, The Atlas Underground is what Morello calls “ a clandestine sonic conspiracy of artists working in disparate locations toward a shared goal of creating a new genre of music. ” The lyrics often take the form of “ social justice ghost stories, ” and on tracks such as Bassnectar, Big Boi and Killer Mike ’ s “ Rabbit Revenge ” and the RZA/GZA-featuring “ Lead Poisoning, ” they convey the experiences of those less fortunate who were unable to speak up for themselves. “ T his record also afforded me the opportunity to divest m yself of my natural Type A controlling character, ” admits Morello, whom Rolling Stone has recognized as on e of the 100 greatest guitar players of all time. “ After initial conversations with the collaborators about theme and lyrics, I made it clear that there was no ego stake in these songs and that the only goal was to make something we all loved; something that was fucking powerful with no preconceived notions other than the freedom of taking a blank sonic page and letting our freak flag fly. ” Morello knew some of his collaborators beforehand, parti cularly the Wu-Tang members, with whom Rage Against The Machine shared an infamous U.S. tour b ill in summer 1997. In other cases, the connections were serendipitous, such as when Morello heard K.Flay on the radio and cold-called her, only to discover they were both from Illinois and “ shared that suburban angst. ” Morello took great joy in sending batches of riffs and g uitar noises to collaborators such as Bassnectar and Knife Party, who would send back “ smashing tracks ” that scrambled everything together. Just as rewarding were in-person jam sessions wi th artists such as Clark, where songs were built verse/chorus/lyrics from scratch. And in the case of “ Find Another Way, ” Mumford and Morello teamed up for early-morning Skype sessions in-be tween their parental duties. “ I ’ ve been devoted both musically and as an activist to fig hting injustice at every turn, ” says Morello. “ Amid this heightened sense of impending doom, it ’ s now time to rally the troops in a last-ditch effort to save the planet, and our artistic souls. By challengi ng the boundaries of what music is and has sounded like before, you can open peoples ’ eyes to changing the status quo in society. ” In tandem with acclaimed multi-media artist Sam Durant and director Sean Evans, who staged Roger Waters ’ “ The Wall, ” Morello is planning an innovative live presentation of the music on The Atlas Underground , which won ’ t be reliant on fill-ins to replicate the guest artist ’ s contributions. “ We ’ re assembling something that ’ s more of an art installation than a show, which is diff erent than anything anyone has ever done, ” he says. “ It will be a challenging piece in non-traditional ven ues that will bring the ideas on the album to life — a last big event before we all go to jail. ”