In his song of the same, Bruce Springsteen packs bundles of shimmering sentiment and bombast to lament his long lost love. “I came for you, for you, I came for you. But you did not need my urgency,” he bellows amid bouncy keys and monumental hooks.
Joanna Sternberg’s new track mirrors similarly fractured human bonds but there’s no pomposity here, instead Sternberg barely fills the space around them, their tempered half-thoughts drifting in and out of focus, like bursts of bright sunlight through stale bedroom air.
Initially, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d tuned into some dusty old radio station, the aged guitar strums recalling those old time blues, but Sternberg’s signature voice immediately switches the tone, their doo-doo-doo nonchalance akin to accidentally finding yourself locked inside someone’s daydream as sentiments and actions are twisted and lamented as only the private mind can do.
“This song is about being in any sort of a relationship with a narcissistic person who does not care about you,” Sternberg says of the new song, which is premiered here today and precedes new record ‘Then I Try Some More’. “I wrote this song as a reminder to surround myself with people who reciprocate my love. I am sorry about the judgmental tone of this song, because I know that everybody feels pain and it is impossible to see into anyone’s mind, body or heart, but life is full of fleeting emotions.”
Weird and wired, curious and comfortable, ‘For You’ feels like a complex web of emotions laid out in as straightforward a way as possible; the kind of incongruous leap into someone’s else’s world that will linger for long after the fact. Listen to the new song right now, and check out pre-order info and forthcoming Conor Oberst support dates below.
07.12.19 – Brooklyn, NY @ The Glove
Supporting Conor Oberst:
07.17.19 – Portsmouth, NH @ Prescott Park Free Concert Series 07.18.19 – Providence, RI @ Columbus Theater 07.19.19 – Norwalk, CT @ Wall St Theater 07.20.19 – Bearsville, NY @ Bearsville Theater 07.21.19 – Jersey City, NJ @ White Eagle Hall 07.23.19 – Kalamazoo, MI @ Bells Brewery 07.24.19 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall 07.25.19 – Cincinnati, OH @ Taft Theatre 07.26.19 – Bloomington, IL @ Castle Theater 07.27.19 – Maquoketa, IA @ Codfish Hollow 07.28.19 – Minneapolis, MN @ Weesner Amphitheater
There are some voices that exist to be heard and absorbed, that resonate long after the last note is played, like a gentle breeze on a warm night when the world is quiet. Such is the voice of Erin Durant, who sings with a lilt to charm the soul and warm the heart.
Premiered here today is the title track of new record Islands, her debut release on the Keeled Scales label, which is released June 21st. “For me, Islands is about a convergence of space and time, being in two places at once, and still feeling the ongoing tug from both. It also brings together literary inspiration from Hemingway’s descriptions of the sea and Joan Didion’s seemingly romantic writing on 1960’s air routes like The Golden Gate,” Erin tells us. “Hemingway has this way of being really close to the water and the elements, and Didion has a keen bird’s eye view.”
On the surface, ‘Islands’ is a blissful track with Durant’s voice front and centre, adorned with glittering piano and vibrant, swooning instrumentation, yet delve beyond to find stories of characters caught in the in-between, alive and existing within each of their own tales, tethered to the worlds she has created. “With this record, when I would start a song, I’d have an image in mind of a certain place. I would try to stay close to that image but once I’d get deeper into the song, it sometimes changed or shifted,” Durant says. “The places became like rocks to jump from, touching down on different emotions and stories. With Islands, it’s written from one place, and the people have all been there, or want to be there, but can’t seem to inhabit that place at the same time.”
There is something striking about an artist who sings so wholly of a world that you find yourself transported there, caught in the intricacies of each note, each colour conjured, each tale told; Durant’s voice is full of weight, a gentle sentimentality that carries you forward and return to you the places she sings of, places you don’t yet know and perhaps never will, but ache nostalgically for.
A rhythmic grandeur, ‘Islands’ feels timeless, a stunning single bursting with both light and magic. In Erin’s own words: “It’s like a seance to me.”
Listen below right now and pre-order the ‘Islands‘ LP right here.
“I don’t know what it is you do; the closed-off part of me needs the closed part of you,” sings Chorus Grant on tender new track ‘Lives’, the first new music from Kristian Finne’s solo project in five years. In a scattered, evocative piece of nocturnal-pop, it’s a lyric that immediately stands-out, a snapshot of the narrative that is woven inside the dense and curious composition that surrounds it.
Released here today, ahead of the final sessions for his new album, which will take place this summer, as well as a run of tour dates across his home country of Denmark, ‘Lives’ offers a striking reminder of the beautifully ambiguous nature of Chorus Grant’s work. That swooning lead voice rises and falls throughout, occasionally illuminating the track but also content to shrink away into the shadows, while the music itself is both affectionate and enigmatic, the darkly-brilliant rhythm section adding an extra weight of drama throughout.
“Music and songwriting is my most trusted friend. It helps me to understand life and give voice to ponderings that can’t not be articulated in normal conversation,” Kristian says of his new work. “I’ve felt an urgency to write these songs that deal with transition and transformation – floating mid-air between an old and a new life.”
Premiering below right now, via a new video made by Copenhagen visual artist Jakob Steen, ‘Lives’ makes for a wholly interesting next-step; a mysterious and mesmerising three-minutes that gently changes shape within the stifling heat of the summer. Check it out below right now.
Chorus Grant - Lives - YouTube
● May 25, 2019, Bloom Festival, Copenhagen – DK ● Jun 22, 2019, Midsommer Festival, Præstø -DK ● Jul 13, 2019, Jazz Ugen, Aarhus – DK ● Aug 9, 2019, Ofelia Live, Copenhagen – DK ● Aug 30, 2019, Høst Møn – DK ● Oct 17, 2019, Dexter, Odense- DK ● Oct 24, 2019, Hotel Cecil, Copenhagen – DK ● Oct 25, 2019, Atlas, Aarhus – DK ● Oct 26, 2019, Huset I Hasseris, Aalborg- DK
With a couple of low-key releases already under their belt, Crake – a “perpetually Autumnal” quartet from Leeds – are looking to step things up a gear this year, with a new three-song EP, Dear Natalie, which will be released in June. Announced today, the full release of the EP is followed by a European tour alongside Big Thief, which kicks-off next week in their hometown, and also takes in London, Manchester, Glasgow, and more – full details of which can be found below.
Unveiled here today, ‘Glycerin’, the EP’s lead track, is moody and full of melancholy. Making good on those aforementioned seasonal references, the whole thing feels like it could buckle at any moment, trapped by the weather, shrouded within a cloud that shortens the distance to the only the immediate, somewhat suffocating space you find yourself in.
Musically, the track feels beautifully meditative, in spite of the sadness that underpins it. A slow, plodding drum-beat sets the tone, the overall mood only occasionally lifted by underlying sparkles of guitar, which threaten to break-out but never quite do, and a lead vocal so gently weary it’s hard not to feel instinctively drawn to it, to raise it up, to push it forwards.
Both graceful and bewitching, ‘Glycerin’ feels like an immediate and determined stride forward; a pensive, dejected moment of magic, but magic nonetheless. Listen below right now.
The third issue of our new physical journal includes conversations with:
Big Thief, Weyes Blood, Cate Le Bon, Jamila Woods, The Tallest Man On Earth, Nilufer Yanya, Heather Woods Broderick, Charly Bliss, The Mountain Goats, Laura Stevenson, Self Esteem, Patience, The Get Up Kids, Partner, Ben Seretan, Christelle Bofale, Claire Cronin and more.
Reviews of The National, Lomelda, WH Lung, Tacocat, Lydia Ainsworth, Rosie Tucker, Joanna Sternberg, and more – Plus personal essays, new music recommendations, and photography.
Some of our favourite songs released in April 2019.
Tracklist as follows:
Hania Rani – Eden Lucy Dacus – My Mother & I Erin Durant – Highway Blues Christelle Bofale – U Ouchea Mild Orange – Down By The River Noname – Song 32 Hannah Cohen – All I Wanted No Aloha – The Big One Laura Stevenson – Value Inn Britt – Crisco Cate Le Bon – Home To You Erland Cooper – Spoot Ebb Blue Unit – Drop IRAH – Cinematic Outer Spaces – I See Her Face Vera Sola – Crooked Houses
. . .
GoldFlakePaint is now a long-form physical publication
Born in NYC before moving to LA, Johanna Samuels has spent the best part of a decade honing her craft, carefully peeling away the layers until she arrived at her brilliant new EP Have A Good One; a stark, absorbing, and visceral new collection that offers her strongest and most absorbing work to-date.
Finding a way to balance bright pop melodies with a drifting sense of melancholy that can’t be placed, Samuels made the most of a bad year, writing the EP as a reaction to her longterm relationship falling apart. “So much of the record is about loss of love – really the loss of myself,” she explains. “I really lost a grasp on who I was and it truly broke me. Exploring the idea of identity in relationship was important to me. The songs also come out of me figuring out how to exist within a new-found strength instead of grasping for love or the idea of it.”
The resulting work feels immediately wholesome, rich tapestries of sound, full of varying instrumentation, that act as a city-lit backdrop for Samuel’s evocative voice that manages to be both playful and peculiar, often in the same hushed breath.
Ahead of the EP’s full release tomorrow, via the Basin Rock label (Julie Byrne, Nadia Reid), we’re very pleased to stream the entire collection here today, alongside an interview with Johanna. Check it all out below right now, and grab a copy of the EP via a beautiful 10″ vinyl right here.
Can you tell us a little a bit about your background, where you grew up and your own personal history and the journey that led to where you are now. Did you grow up in a household surrounded by music?
I was born in New York City where I lived with my family til I was about 5. My parents moved us to Los Angeles for work and I went through the public school system there where they have an amazing music program. I started singing in choir in the 6th grade and had an incredible teacher named Jeffe Huls. I became extremely involved in singing in a cappella groups that focused on older pieces and Gregorian chants. I stayed in choir through the end of high school. Both my parents loved music.
Growing up I was really in love with with film and the idea of returning to New York City. I applied early and got into NYU film program when I was 17 and moved to NYC. During my second year there I flashed the realization of the medium of song. I had always figured out Beatles songs on the piano by ear – but never felt I had the inner voice to sing my own. Movies and songs are just two different ways to tell a story. I realized that for me songs felt so much more immediate and everything clicked. I started writing obsessively and playing out solo.
You’ve been writing songs for over 10 years now, how has your songwriting changed over that time?
I loved to use tons of chords (and still do), but over the course of the past 5 years I found the power of playing with my band in LA and how much can be achieved musically with using less. I think now because I’ve been doing it so long I’ve circled back around to now try to find a balance between the simplifying my changes and celebrating more chord changes. Lyrically I also try to write with less fear and strive more to show instead of telling. I love songs that make you feel something viscerally.
Can you tell us a bit about the writing process for the songs on this EP? Were there any particular people, places, or things that inspired or had any influence on the record as a whole?
These songs were written over the course of a very transitional and painful year. I parted ways with my partner of 7 years and moved into my first apartment alone. I foolishly eclipsed the relationship with someone who idealized me and really broke my heart. So much of the record is about loss of love – really the loss of myself. I really lost a grasp on who I was and it truly broke me – so exploring the idea of identity in relationship was important to me. The songs also come out of me figuring out how to exist within new-found strength within myself instead of grasping for love or the idea of it.
Where did you record the new EP?
I recorded the EP in two different studios. The first was in Sean O’Brien’s recording space called the Notch in Glassell Park in Los Angeles. It’s where we recorded my last EP together “Home & Dry: Told a Lie” so I felt very comfortable there. The second place we recorded is our bass player’s father’s studio Knob World in Echo Park. We often would rehearse in there and Sean has since moved The Notch into the B Room there. As the year progressed for me and my emotional life became more and more difficult these two studios became safe havens for me… especially because so much healing took place for me by recording this record.
There seems to be two sides to your songwriting – the ‘pop’ songs that are melodic and catchy and then a dark subtler side. What attracts you to the two different shades?
I think I’ve always just truly been moved by the two song models in different ways. I’ve always been drawn to pop music that makes you feel. I think the Beatles were the best at it. Brian Wilson too. I love when there is candy coating on honest lyrics so I often strive to do that. I also just love songs that are straight up vulnerable and sometimes the chords and atmosphere is bare to make space for a message. I think the two are the yin and yang of songwriting!
Who do you consider your most prominent musical influences?
As a kid, my dad turned me onto Bob Dylan – I was named after his song Visions of Johanna – as well as Neil Young, Tom Petty, Van Morrison etc. My mom turned me onto Steely Dan, Paul Simon, Laura Nyro and standards. Everyone agreed on the Beatles – and they have probably been the longest and largest standing influence in my musical life.
Elliott Smith probably comes in second. I will forever be infatuated with his digestion of wonderful music. He changed my ears in terms of what a chord change can achieve and how vulnerable and celebratory a lyric can be at the same time.
For years I used to go see Jon Brion weekly at Largo at The Coronet in West Hollywood. He inspires me deeply as a producer and a musician – he was another person who showed me that celebrating pop music can be done tastefully and juicily.
What’s next for you?
I just recorded a new LP with Sam Evian in upstate NY. I’m really happy with how the songs are turning out. We’re going to be preparing to put that record out and getting some tours booked to take both these new song bundles out into the world.
Johanna will play the new Future Yard Festival in Birkenhead on August 23rd – 24th, with more dates TBC
Shaped and salted by the small stretch of Pacific Northwest coastline within which it was devised, Heather Woods Broderick’s new album is a both powerful and undulating, a collection of heavy-hearted pop songs that drift and hover like mist and then burst into life, a storm rupturing the surrounding stillness.
Written in a small cabin in the Oregon wilderness, the album flashes between imagery of the nature at her door and something altogether more profound; her place within it, her place in the world without it.
Lifted from said record, ‘I Try’ is beautifully indicative of this pendulum-like sway, and the track’s new video even more so, as scenes flash in and out and then overlap, worlds colliding, making space for each other. “Framed within the perils and wonders of nature,” Heather explains, “I Try is an expression of recognizing discomfort and struggle while ultimately voicing the desire and drive to make changes to move through an unsettling time.”
The second in a two-part series, which launched with the equally magnetic White Tail film a few weeks ago, the video for I Try was again made in a collaboration between Devin Febbroriello and Tracy Maurice. “We enter the waves and echoes of the dream landscape,” Febbroriello explains, regarding the concept, “and follow Heather as she journeys through doorways and portals both within and without, trying to make sense of the paradoxical nature of the realm she has entered. With a nod to the twists of a fairy tale and the revelations available to those brave enough to enter the rabbit hole.”
Overflowing with ideas, and strikingly evocative throughout, the video acts as an absorbing introduction to Heather’s new record, as well as a stand-alone achievement; a bewitching five-minutes that takes you far away from your own world and deep into another.
Watch it below right now; the full ‘Invitation’ LP is released this Friday.
Heather Woods Broderick - "I Try" (Official Music Video) - YouTube
‘Invitation’ is released on Friday April 19th, via Western Vinyl
So weightless and undefined, we still haven’t quite got to grips with Lisa/Liza’s stunning Momentary Glance LP. One of 2018’s most alluring journeys, the six-song, forty-one minute set presents ambling, spacious folks songs, fog-soaked soundscapes that murmur in the far-off distance, a dense but faded backdrop for Liza Victoria’s beautifully evocative voice to hover alongside, more pertinent, perhaps, but just as shrouded in mystery and subtlety, where the tiniest movement can shift the weight in an instant.
Released via Orindal Records, it’s another of the label’s roster that helps to breathe fresh life into the Liza’s album today, with the unveiling of a brand new video for Momentary Glance’s eight-minute soft-opus ‘The Matador Pt.2’, made by the enigmatic Karima Walker.
“We went on together in December 2018 with Advance Base; my first tour on the West Coast” Liza tells us, about how the project came to fruition. “I love the way Karima captured the mountains on our drive and the strangeness and abundance of the southwestern garden which, coming from the North-East part of the country, felt like another world to me.”
Liza’s work is indeed otherworldly, seeming to play with the rules of time and space that we taken as fact. Take this song specifically, a sprawling eight minutes that sometimes feels like it lasts for twice that length, and otherwise seems to disappear inside of itself, gone before you had a chance to really climb inside of it.
Filmed in greenhouses owned by a world renowned botanist, just outside of Tucson, the new video quietly captures the magic of the song, breaking through the cracked exterior to add new depths of colour to the and imagery to the song. “Every time your eyes move over the space, they’re pulled into these bright, gorgeous colours and forms, hypnotising you into their tiny universes,” Karima says of the space that inspired the video. “I feel Liza’s songs do something very similar, bringing the sublime and the very intimate together with beauty and tenderness and patience.”
Streaming below today, the new video is a beautiful companion piece, one of those videos that feels like it inspired the song, as well as the other way around, even though we know that not to be the case.
“I suddenly find myself somewhere else when the song is over,” Karima says. “I get pulled in and lose track of time. They’re magical in that way and I wanted to make the video feel magical too – a warmth and light emanating from all the little signs of life around her as she moved through the space. I wanted her to be woven into it.”
Check out the video below right now, explore the full album here, and catch Lisa/Liza live on May 30th at The Apohadion Theater in Portland, ME, supporting Simon Joyner & The Ghosts.
A Heart Pierced
~ A Conversation with Jessica Pratt~
words and interview by tom johnson photography by samuel richard
This interview first appeared in our new publication ‘A Music Journal’ – on sale now
Jessica Pratt’s third album is a reflection of suffering created from a space of contentment – and it might well be her masterpiece.
Musicophilia, Oliver Sack’s beautiful exploration of human relationship with recorded sound, investigates the reasons why so many of us are uniquely moved by particular pieces of music, why these odd little melodies, collections of notes and noises, can have such a profound effect on our lives. “Music, uniquely among the arts, is both completely abstract and profoundly emotional,” he says. “It has no power to represent anything particular or external, but it has a unique power to express inner states or feelings. Music can pierce the heart directly; it needs no mediation.”
Each of us will find different things to love within the same work. Even between the best of friends, the closest of allies, some will love what we hate, and hate what we love. There are no rules to what happens, no real way of explaining why we’re gripped. If I had to define the kind of music I cherish the most, however, I would probably find myself leaning towards Jessica Pratt. Blessed with one of those voices that can switch between poignant, pretty, and implacably eerie in one fluttering second, and able to channel this into and within melodies that tenderly pass by but l i n g e r long after. It’s both haunting and exquisite, as meaningful in the atmosphere it creates as much as the structural form it takes.
Released at the start of 2019, Pratt’s third album, Quiet Signs, is a gentle but immediately striking progression, another entry into a discography that is quietly and contemplatively building towards genuine greatness. Her first foray into a real working studio, a break away from the four-track recording style that had left such a unique impression upon her work, it already feels likely that it will become one of the year’s most cherished long-players. Most importantly, it’s a record that welcomes back a songwriter who spent some four years in the personal void between releases.
“The gap between the first and second record didn’t feel like that long to me because so much happened in that period,” Jessica tells us, ahead of the album’s release, commenting on the time she tends to take away between her work. “Every foundational aspect of my life changed in that first period. I moved, I got out of a really long relationship, I quit the job I’d had for six years. It was a huge shift. But I do think time is important for me,” she continues. “You can get a little tapped out. Some people regenerate quicker but I think I’m learning that I tend to take a little longer – especially with this new record.”
Thankfully we’ve started moving away from the idealisation of the suffering artist, the dangerous notion that we can’t make anything true unless we give ourselves over to the darkness. Finding herself thrown into the unguarded and somewhat relentless touring cycle, it’s no surprise that Jessica needed this time to regather, especially as her personal life was also in a state of imbalance. “I basically toured for all of 2015 straight,” she reflects. “It was the first time I’d ever done that and I think I was experimenting with my own sanity and energy levels. It was a really rewarding experience, and it changed my life, but also when it was over I was completely exhausted to the point where I just didn’t really have anything left to give,” she continues. “I think I thought I’d recuperate for a couple of months and then get back to writing, because I’d been longing to write on the road for so long, but I was still in that same headspace, and also depressed because of living alone.”
We’re often told that in those troublesome times, it’s either fight or flight, but in this post-tour slump Jessica found the strength to do both, summoning up the courage to move cities, to go in search of something else, to find a way of moving onwards and upwards. “Touring for that long had kind of degraded my willpower a little bit and I took longer recuperating than I thought I was going to,” she admits. “So I decided to move from LA to San Francisco at some point during that convalescence, and I spent some time figuring my life out. Then, in and around August of 2017, I met my now boyfriend and it sort of ignited something in me again. I felt really inspired, felt like I had more energy, and it brought me back to life a bit. That’s when I really started writing in earnest,” she says. “I think I was just really happy. And, consequently, it gave me the energy to write again while I was sorting through a lot of personal stuff that had transpired during those three years, since the last record. I think I needed that; to be in an optimistic state of mind while sifting through a lot of the darker stuff.”
Oliver Sacks and Musicophilia, once again: “Perception is never purely in the present – it has to draw on experience of the past… We all have detailed memories of how things have previously looked and sounded, and these memories are recalled and admired with every new perception.”
Leaning on the weight of what had been, but from a place of new-found contentment, the resulting album is arrestingly beautiful. Like the intense quiet after a storm, it’s wrapped up in the kind of atmosphere you can’t quite pinpoint, can’t quite understand; like sneaking a glimpse inside a life that isn’t your own, daring not to make a sound.
Where her previous work was fleetingly recorded in various spaces, on a four-track recorder, the new record was her first venture into a polished, professional studio, and while such information often harks to the idea of playing it safe, the result is anything but. Under spotlights, under close scrutiny, Pratt’s music glows supremely, coming alive and growing into something altogether more compelling than it’s ever been.
“After the first session I knew that would be the place I recorded everything,” she recalls, speaking of the studio that became the record’s home. “Even with the last record, there are slight sonic differences from song to song, based on where I recorded it, or what the conditions were, so going into a more controlled atmosphere changed that blueprint. I was working in a very concerted way, so I was able to view it as a project with a beginning and an end. Previously the way that I wrote and recorded was whenever it happened,” she continues. “I may have had the idea of an album in mind but it was still mostly recording for myself and I didn’t know where those songs would end up. This time I knew I was writing for a specific record. More than ever I was weeding out songs that I thought detracted from a certain vibe. That was, largely, unconscious; an intuitive thing, but I was thinking about the end product more than I ever had, or maybe for the first time.
That process, the weeding out of songs, has left a record that is slight and skeletal; just half an hour of music, but a space that feels absolutely inhabited, a tale unto itself. “I do think I’m very selective,” she admits. “I think that I aim to be succinct and I try to remove anything extraneous. There were definitely songs that I wrote and recorded that were pretty decent that I could have thrown on but I just tried to weed out anything that I didn’t feel, ultimately, served the record. In the end I went with what felt right. I think I tend to favour brevity a bit more than whatever’s deemed to be the standard length!”
Perhaps the record’s strongest characteristic is the space that’s been left; small expanses of silence when we’re so used to blanketed sound. “I think that every aspect of how I make music is pretty unconscious,” Jessica says, when asked about this. “Of course I’m going off the feel of it the whole time but, going into it, I didn’t anticipate an incredibly spacious record. I think that there’s an atmosphere of silence on the record that was also not anticipated – part of that is due to the clarity of the studio recordings. It was so deadly quiet there and really gave me a lot of freedom to play with that. I think silence is a very valuable quality in music. But I didn’t foresee it in the beginning.”
“ I think
s i l e n c e
is a very valuable quality in music.”
“It’s funny because a lot of the songs are layered,” she continues, working through her own reflections on the record in real-time. “In fact I think there’s more instrumentation than the last record – but it does feel different. There are songs with lots of open space. When I think of the last record now, it does seem extremely frenetic; wound up and anxious. I was in a very hyper, frightened state of mind when I was making it and I think you can really hear it, like a frequency whirring at a really fast rate. Quiet Signs is a lot more earthy; a slow-wave.”
Certainly a marked step forwards, Quiet Signs also comes with an attached piece of writing, telling us that the record finds an “artist stepping out of the darkened wings, growing comfortable as a solitary figure on a sprawling stage”, something she’s happy to expand upon in finer detail. “I think it’s an accurate statement if I go back to the intention behind the record, and how it was me making a concerted effort to do one thing; to make a statement. This is what I have to say and here it is. The way I’ve approached my career, for better or worse, has always been very non-statement orientated. If someone’s interested in my music then it’s always a surprise to me – I’ve always made things for myself, and it’s been very hands-off to me. But now I’ve begun to accept that this is actually my profession,” she continues. “I’ve found that my approach has changed a little bit in how much I consider an audience, which can be both good and bad. But by considering them I feel more validated and legitimate. There is a performance aspect to Quiet Signs; of being aware of the space it needs to fill.”
With all of these new outlooks and processes, Jessica admits that there were some surprises along the way, things that blossomed unexpectedly, as new horizons so often seem to manufacture. “Aeroplane, the last song on the record, has these two completely different organ parts, one played by me and one by the engineer Al, who plays a lot on the record. They’re spliced together, back and forth, almost like a patchwork quilt. On paper, it doesn’t really make any sense at all but it just happened to work out. Also there’s a sort of coda at the end of that song that was improvised in the studio. I really wasn’t sure it was going to work, because it’s also on electric guitar, which I’d never really tried to record before. All of a sudden all of these unforeseen elements popped up and turned it into something I could never have predicted.”
“There is a performance aspect to Quiet Signs; of being aware of the space it needs to fill.”
Taken as a stand-alone sentiment, that last sentence could well be talking about life as a whole, not just the time that Pratt spent in a studio. Try as we might to find balance, some semblance of inner peace, there will always be unimagined events that leap out of the void, sending the world into a spin just as we felt settled. The best we can do is try to ride it out, to keep just enough of ourselves above water until we find our way to dry land once more. Quiet Signs, above all else, above all the beauty of its construction and personality, is a testament to such a thing; the idea that great worth can be found in dark places, not as some romanticised version of reality but as a considered declaration that we can always find a way to carry on.
The things we love, the things we’re inspired by, also have a way of finding their way back to us, often when we least expect it, when we believe that the well has finally run dry. “The power of music,” Sacks tells us, finally, “whether joyous or cathartic, must steal on one unawares, come spontaneously as a blessing or a grace.”
And so it has here; a quiet sign in a world full of noise.
Jessica Pratt - This Time Around (Official Video) - YouTube