The Line of Best Fit have premiered new track ‘Stay’:
Lost practices, hidden worlds, secret topics – Landshapes shift around the dark, magical borders of alternative culture, soaking up poetry and peccadillos, high art and low desires.
On their second album Heyoon, released on Bella Union on May 4th, Landshapes explore everything from a 17th Century tale about migratory space geese; tragic Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader who died on a failed Atlantic crossing, the desire to inhabit another’s psyche and nights out at drag bars. With Landshapes, anything could happen.
Previously Lulu And The Lampshades, 2012 saw them accrue a wealth of guitar pedals, a fascination for mind-expanding noise and, following a mis-billing in Paris, a new name: Landshapes.
2013 debut Landshapes album Rambutan was a voyage of discovery as they hunted out this elusive new soundscape. Electronics clashed with traditional shanties, eastern atmospherics met spaghetti western overtones, nothing was out-of-bounds.
Described by one reviewer as “conjuring up images of twisted Tim Burton nighttime fairgrounds where all the rides are manned by Tom Waits”, it combined art, folk, psychedelia and math-rock in a beguiling morass of ominous strings, oddball found-sounds and insidious melody.
The band were still mapping Landshapes though. Over the next year of intense rehearsals and live outings – including CMJ, Green Man and End Of The Road, they honed the self-professed “unleashed and loud” sound into a focused tornado.
They worked with an open palate and freeform approach. “Making patterns, moods, and noises, enjoying conflicts of sound that can be explored and then resolved.” Key to this development was a fortnight spent in a cottage in the woods of Cornwall in September 2014
“Something about all that fresh air, sea, and woods and fire manifested in something much darker and much more menacing than anything we’d written so far,” Luisa explains. “That’s when it felt like we’d started the album.”
After road testing the new material and earning all-female mosh-pits in the process, the band hit Soup Studios in Limehouse with producers Giles Barrett and David Holmes. Here two more songs came together including lead single Moongee, a masterpiece of hallucinatory sludge rock inspired by interplanetary wildfowl, a tale by 17th century Bishop Francis Godwin recently re-imagined by artist Agnes Meyer Brandis.
The resulting album Heyoon is astounding, both sonically and thematically. If you want to take the highbrow road through this dense maelstrom of psychedelic math-fuzz beauty, then focus on the lustrous, unsettling lounge drone of Fire. A reflection of a Lydia Davis story called Forbidden Subjects, the track documents a post-break up friendship. “Conversations are so barbed and loaded, it’s the fire of conflict but also the memory of the fire of chemistry.”
There’s a rich seam of break-up philosophy running through Heyoon. The Lynchian torch-gaze of Red Kite concerns “still feeling deeply affected by a past relationship, but putting that neatly, and tenderly in a box so that you can move on.”
The untamed, carnival-whirling pop of Ader recalls tragic visual artist Bas Jan Ader, whose work still remains unexplained following his death in a little sailboat, alone on the Atlantic. “People have speculated over what he’s sad about,” adds Luisa. “That it could be the absolute loneliness of all humans and that you can never completely know another person.”
Wallow in the bass-fuelled end of Heyoon and you’ll embrace the stampeding thunk-punk of opener Stay, a booty-call set to music that shape-shifts into a post-orgasmic bliss dream in its second half. Then there’s the sultry Gallic trembles of Francois, a courage song exploring gender with luring verses coaxing someone to go out, go to a party and be themselves.
Brooding, beautiful, haunted and occasionally barbarous, Heyoon is a record about secret, hidden things, right down to it’s title, a mispronunciation of a secret pavilion hidden in the woods of south-east Michigan, near Ann Arbor.
“These two guys built this weird structure, kind of a pavilion, on one of their properties, hidden in a clearing in the woods. The story goes that teenagers stumbled across it and it became a place people would escape to. Young teens looking for somewhere to hang out, somewhere just to smoke and drink and do all that stuff, a temple of firsts. You can only find it if somebody takes you there who already knows it. It’s a beautiful story, although we’re probably doing something blasphemous, because it’s a secret, calling our album that.”
Landshapes: climb inside and explore.
Dan Blackett (drums, vocals), Luisa Gerstein (ukelele, vocals), Heloise Tunstall-Behrens (bass, vocals), Jemma Freeman (guitar, vocals)
With her sublime second album Pleasure Boy due for release 30th March on Bella Union, HANNAH COHEN has just announced news of London headline show at Corsica Studios to begin a European tour.
Thursday 26 March – LONDON – Corsica Studios tickets
Hannah has also just unveiled a new track “Fake It” from the album which can be heard here…
Music often comes from a deep place, and in the case of Hannah Cohen’s stunning and heartrending second album, it’s very deep indeed. Mainly inspired by a painful break-up and the anxieties that loss can trigger, Pleasure Boy cushions its sadness in an exquisitely nuanced soundscape of aching melancholy and lush melody where Hannah’s vocal conveys all the different shades of heartbreak. Following the album’s completion, she’s survived the calamity and found a new level of happiness, but to paraphrase the classic Sixties hit, there will always be something there to remind her with Pleasure Boy.
‘Pleasure Boy’, like her debut ‘Child Bride’, was produced by Thomas Bartlett, aka Doveman, whose work with artists such as The National, Antony Hegarty and David Byrne singles him out as one of America’s current finest producers and collaborators, though he’s also a talented pianist. The dynamics of ‘Pleasure Boy’ was the result of Hannah and Bartlett, “bunkering down with my songs, experimenting with different tones and sounds, and layering them. My first record was so airy and roomy, I didn’t have patience for that again, I wanted more movement, something more mysterious and witchier, so we created this sound wall together.”
Pleasure Boy will be released 30th March on Bella Union.
Colours Of The Night, Peter Broderick’s first full-length for Bella Union in three years, had a rather odd conception to say the least. The American born multi-instrumentalist and songwriter went along for the ride when invited for a so-called “recording residency” in the small town of Lucerne, Switzerland.
Through several memorable concert evenings in the town on various tours, he developed a friendship with some of the locals, who eventually got the idea of inviting Broderick to be a guest of the city for three weeks while recording an album with a backing band of local musicians. All of which was to take place in the studio of Timo Keller, a local producer and engineer known primarily for his involvement in the Swiss hip-hop scene. The album’s enticing opening track, ‘Red Earth’, is streaming here:
Rewind a few years, back to 2012, which saw the release of Broderick’s last album for Bella Union, the ambitious http://www.itstartshear.com, recorded over the course of three years by Berlin’s producer/pianist extraordinaire Nils Frahm. After spending all that time in the studio, working and reworking to the point of exhaustion, Broderick struggled with the idea of recreating the album on stage, and eventually cancelled all tour plans, ending up in the hospital with a stress-born illness. Struggling to stay healthy and lacking the energy to carry on, Broderick returned to his his native Oregon, where he took a much needed break and slowly started rebuilding his approach toward music and life in general.
At this time of respite came the offer from Lucerne. Having always taken pride in playing all of the instruments himself, without anything in the way of a proper rhythm section, Broderick found the idea of working with a backing band intriguing and refreshing. And refreshing it proved! “I arrived with a pile of songs and just sort of watched as they got carried through the filter of this group of musicians who were coming from an entirely different place,” says Broderick. “It was exciting to let go a little bit, to simplify and consolidate my own role in the music.”
Recording all the basic tracks as a live band, they quickly found a groove and lilt that carries throughout the variety of song styles. From the Afro-tinged title track and playful ‘One Way’, to the doo-wop swing of ‘The Reconnection’ and rather unclassifiable analogue/digital blend of tracks like ‘Red Earth’ and ‘On Time’, Peter Broderick’s latest outing sees the well-versed musician truly embracing his surroundings, however foreign they may be, and allowing himself the freedom to be transformed by those surroundings and elevated to new heights in creative expression.
Colours Of The Night will be released 27th April on Bella Union.