A.A. Williams to release “arco” EP

Following the success of her recent Songs From Isolation album, A.A. Williams today announces arco, a strings and vocal reimagining of her debut EP, out 15th October via Bella Union and available to preorder here. To mark the occasion Williams has shared a transfixing and unsettling b/w video for “Control”, the EP’s opening track, directed by Mogwai collaborator Craig Murray.

Making her stage debut in April 2019 and selling out her first headline show at London’s prestigious Southbank Centre less than a year later, A.A. Williams hit the ground running. Similarly, the acclaim for her performances and her music has been unanimous from the start. After one self-titled EP and a collaboration with Japanese post-rockers MONO, the London-based singer-songwriter signed to Bella Union and released her stunning debut album, Forever Blue, in July 2020.

That Southbank show would prove to be the last time she would take to the stage for a long while as the world struggled to cope with unforeseen and extreme challenges. Never a musician to sit still, the classically trained multi-instrumentalist focused her creativity on arranging – firstly, by stripping songs back to the most delicate bones on her Songs from Isolation covers record, and now with a complete reimagining of her own material as the four songs from her debut EP become arco.

Not many musicians have the ability – or indeed bravery – to rework a collection of their own full band ‘rock’ songs into a string-and-voice arrangement. A.A. Williams, however, is not like many musicians and the minimalism of Arvo Pärt and Gorecki has long since sat beside Vaughan Williams’ folk-inspired classical work as important influences on her music. Indeed, the intention with the EP was for Williams to challenge herself by not retaining guitars and drums, meaning arco had to be truly reimagined with a full string ensemble. As Williams describes it: “The main focus of the arrangements is trying to maintain the authenticity of the original songs that, whilst embodying some of the more familiar elements of the full-band settings, draws focus on the voice.” 

Conducting the ensemble of string musicians in the studio, A.A. Williams has evolved her own compositions with new instrumentation and arrangements, encapsulating the singular vision of a unique artist.

A.A. Williams announces 2021 Autumn tour

Following the release of her Songs From Isolation covers album earlier this year, A.A. Williams has announced news of her first-ever headline UK tour, taking her band on the road in September and October of this year to perform songs from her acclaimed debut album, Forever Blue. The tour also includes a London Bush Hall show performing the Songs From Isolation album in its entirety, while later in October Williams will give a stripped-back performance at London’s Scala supporting Bella Union labelmates Lost Horizons. 

Making her stage debut in April 2019 and selling out her first headline show at London’s prestigious Southbank Centre less than a year later, A.A. Williams has hit the ground running. Similarly, the acclaim for her performances and her music has been unanimous from the start. After one self-titled EP and the 10” vinyl collaboration Exit in Darkness with Japanese post-rockers MONO, the London-based singer-songwriter signed to Bella Union and made a stunning debut album, Forever Blue, released in July 2020.

A rapturous blend of post-rock and post-classical, Forever Blue smoulders with uncoiling melodies and haunted atmospheres, shifting from serenity to explosive drama, often within the same song. Williams is a fantastic musician as well as songwriter, playing the guitar, cello and piano, and her voice has the controlled delivery of a seasoned chanteuse whilst still channelling the rawest of emotions.

Having taken music lessons from the age of six and been immersed in classical music, Williams’ life was forever changed when she discovered Deftones in her mid-teens, “and after them, all things heavy,” she recalls. “It was music that made me feel included, that tapped into me.” Yet it was only years later, when she found a guitar in the street with a note attached, “please take me, just needs work,” that Williams started playing guitar, and only started writing songs as a way of learning how to play. “I wrote in different styles to find a sound I was comfortable with,” she says. “Likewise, with singing. I’d never before thought of singing with a microphone in front of other people. It’s been quite a journey.”

Happy Release Day to A.A. Williams

In 2020, A.A. Williams released her much acclaimed debut album Forever Blue, and less than a year later we are graced once again with an equally effecting project titled Songs From Isolation. The Songs From Isolation project began at the beginning of the UK’s nationwide lockdown in March. A.A. Williams took songs suggested by fans and created a series of videos presenting the tracks with stripped-down instrumentation, recorded and filmed from her home in North London. The album represents a continuation of the project into a full collection of recordings and features cover versions of The Cure, Pixies, Deftones, Nick Cave, Gordon Lightfoot, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails and more. Williams has previously shared cover versions of Deftones’ ‘Be Quiet And Drive’‘Lovesong’ by The Cure, ‘Porcelina Of The Vast Oceans’ by The Smashing Pumpkins and The Pixies ‘Where Is My Mind’ from the album.

Critical acclaim for Forever Blue, A.A. Williams’ July-released debut album:

“Williams moves with ease between singer-songwriter territory and post-metal heaviness… Forever Blue is a remarkable accomplishment, confirming that Williams has already built a world of her own.” MOJO – 4 stars ****

“Revelatory… Minimalist singer-songwriter material blending with elements of classical, metal and post-rock to make a distinctive whole.” The Observer (One To Watch)

“Darkly beguiling… A.A. Williams’ songs maintain an eerie delicacy whether she chooses a setting that’s spare, ornate or pulverising… The shifts between moments of high drama and quiet tension point to her kinship with Chelsea Wolfe and PJ Harvey.” Uncut

“blending moments of introspection with soaring post-rock crescendos and classical elements, this is a compelling debut throughout.” Q – 4 stars ****

“An impressively confident sound-world… cinematic and majestic.” Financial Times

“Beautifully meditative… music that hypnotises… An impressive debut.” PROG

“A masterful work of melancholy and bruised beauty… One of the most wonderful new British artists of recent years.” Planet Rock – 5 stars *****

“Stirring and evocative… We’re only halfway through 2020 but the chances of a more heartrending and fully formed debut emerging this year are practically zero.” Metal Hammer – 9/10

“Enduring the emotional abyss with breathtaking grace and grit on her debut album; A.A. Williams’ Forever Blue is a record that reveals more of its sublime poetry each time it’s listened to.” The Line Of Best Fit – 9/10

“A stunning eight track debut… Her vocals are stirring and emotive, while conveying raw emotion that perfectly encapsulates the anxieties and addictions of love and loss… Just sublime.” Clash – 8/10

A concise yet profound debut album that displays incredible craft both lyrically and dynamically.” Secret Meeting – 8.5/10

“A debut of richness, depth and genuinely shattering emotional engagement – pure melancholic majesty to lose yourself in.” Beats Per Minute – 8.2/10

A.A. Williams covers The Moody Blues

With her new album of cover versions Songs From Isolation due out 19th March via Bella Union, A.A. Williams has today shared another new track from the LP. “Nights In White Satin” is a beautiful piano and vocal reimagining of The Moody Blues classic from 1967 which serves to showcase Williams’ unique vocal talents. Of the track Williams says: “I’ve always been drawn to the vintage textures and beautiful melodies of Nights In White Satin. A simple cover for solo piano and voice, this version focuses a little more on extended harmonic suspensions and on the text, a heartfelt reinterpretation of a 60s classic.”

The Songs From Isolation project began at the beginning of the UK’s nationwide lockdown in March. A.A. Williams took songs suggested by fans and created a series of videos presenting the tracks with stripped-down instrumentation, recorded and filmed from her home in North London. The album represents a continuation of the project into a full collection of recordings and features cover versions of The Cure, Pixies, Deftones, Nick Cave, Gordon Lightfoot, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails and more. Williams has previously shared cover versions of Deftones’ ‘Be Quiet And Drive’‘Lovesong’ by The Cure, ‘Porcelina Of The Vast Oceans’ by The Smashing Pumpkins and The Pixies ‘Where Is My Mind’ from the album.

Critical acclaim for Forever Blue, A.A. Williams’ July-released debut album:

“Williams moves with ease between singer-songwriter territory and post-metal heaviness… Forever Blue is a remarkable accomplishment, confirming that Williams has already built a world of her own.”

MOJO – 4 stars ****

“Revelatory… Minimalist singer-songwriter material blending with elements of classical, metal and post-rock to make a distinctive whole.” The Observer (One To Watch)

“Darkly beguiling… A.A. Williams’ songs maintain an eerie delicacy whether she chooses a setting that’s spare, ornate or pulverising… The shifts between moments of high drama and quiet tension point to her kinship with Chelsea Wolfe and PJ Harvey.” Uncut

“blending moments of introspection with soaring post-rock crescendos and classical elements, this is a compelling debut throughout.” Q – 4 stars ****

“An impressively confident sound-world… cinematic and majestic.” Financial Times

“Beautifully meditative… music that hypnotises… An impressive debut.” PROG

“A masterful work of melancholy and bruised beauty… One of the most wonderful new British artists of recent years.” Planet Rock – 5 stars *****

“Stirring and evocative… We’re only halfway through 2020 but the chances of a more heartrending and fully formed debut emerging this year are practically zero.” Metal Hammer – 9/10

“Enduring the emotional abyss with breathtaking grace and grit on her debut album; A.A. Williams’ Forever Blue is a record that reveals more of its sublime poetry each time it’s listened to.” The Line Of Best Fit – 9/10

“A stunning eight track debut… Her vocals are stirring and emotive, while conveying raw emotion that perfectly encapsulates the anxieties and addictions of love and loss… Just sublime.” Clash – 8/10

A concise yet profound debut album that displays incredible craft both lyrically and dynamically.” Secret Meeting – 8.5/10

“A debut of richness, depth and genuinely shattering emotional engagement – pure melancholic majesty to lose yourself in.” Beats Per Minute – 8.2/10

A.A. Williams covers The Pixies

With her new album of cover versions Songs From Isolation due out 12th February via Bella Union, A.A. Williams has today shared another new track from the LP. “Where Is My Mind?” is a starkly beautiful piano and vocal reimagining of The Pixies classic from 1988. Of the track Williams says: “I was so glad when a fan suggested Where Is My Mind? for Songs From Isolation – it was a pleasure to work on a song that is so well-known and well-loved. To create an arrangement that was true to the original and also presented it in a new light was challenging. To ensure that the much-beloved melodies were treated with due care I kept things pretty sparse, with simple, rhythmic piano underpinning the legendary topline.”

The Songs From Isolation project began at the beginning of the UK’s nationwide lockdown in March. A.A. Williams took songs suggested by fans and created a series of videos presenting the tracks with stripped-down instrumentation, recorded and filmed from her home in North London. The album represents a continuation of the project into a full collection of recordings and features cover versions of The Cure, Pixies, Deftones, Nick Cave, Gordon Lightfoot, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails and more. Williams has previously shared cover versions of Deftones’ ‘Be Quiet And Drive’‘Lovesong’ by The Cure and ‘Porcelina Of The Vast Oceans’ by The Smashing Pumpkins from the album.

A.A. Williams will head out on tour in 2021. See here for full dates.

A.A. Williams covers The Smashing Pumpkins

Having last month announced the release of Songs From Isolation, a 9-track LP of cover versions out 12th February via Bella Union, today A.A. Williams shares another new track from the album. “Porcelina Of The Vast Oceans” is a beguiling, stripped-back cover of the Smashing Pumpkins classic. Of the track Williams says: “Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness is such a nostalgic album for a generation of music-lovers, it was great to have a chance to work on one of the tracks for the Songs From Isolation project. The Pumpkins’ Porcelina has so many timbre changes and complexities that in this arrangement I wanted to hone in on the text, whilst leaving the piano to underpin everything with a dreamy positivity.”

The Songs From Isolation project began at the beginning of the UK’s nationwide lockdown in March. A.A. Williams took songs suggested by fans and created a series of videos presenting the tracks with stripped-down instrumentation, recorded and filmed from her home in North London. The album represents a continuation of the project into a full collection of recordings and features cover versions of The Cure, Pixies, Deftones, Nick Cave, Gordon Lightfoot, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails and more.Williams has previously shared cover versions of Deftones’ ‘Be Quiet And Drive’ and ‘Lovesong’ by The Cure from the album.

A.A. Williams recently announced news of further live dates which will hopefully take place next year. March sees her on tour in Europe with The Sisters Of Mercy followed by an extensive tour with MONO running through to mid-April. This is followed by UK headline shows including a special Songs From Isolation London performance in September. 

Critical acclaim for Forever Blue, A.A. Williams’ July-released debut album:

“Williams moves with ease between singer-songwriter territory and post-metal heaviness… Forever Blue is a remarkable accomplishment, confirming that Williams has already built a world of her own.” MOJO – 4 stars ****

“Revelatory… Minimalist singer-songwriter material blending with elements of classical, metal and post-rock to make a distinctive whole.” The Observer (One To Watch)

“Darkly beguiling… A.A. Williams’ songs maintain an eerie delicacy whether she chooses a setting that’s spare, ornate or pulverising… The shifts between moments of high drama and quiet tension point to her kinship with Chelsea Wolfe and PJ Harvey.” Uncut

“blending moments of introspection with soaring post-rock crescendos and classical elements, this is a compelling debut throughout.” Q – 4 stars ****

“A masterful work of melancholy and bruised beauty… One of the most wonderful new British artists of recent years.” Planet Rock – 5 stars *****

“Stirring and evocative… We’re only halfway through 2020 but the chances of a more heartrending and fully formed debut emerging this year are practically zero.” Metal Hammer – 9/10

“Enduring the emotional abyss with breathtaking grace and grit on her debut album; A.A. Williams’ Forever Blue is a record that reveals more of its sublime poetry each time it’s listened to.” The Line Of Best Fit – 9/10

“A stunning eight track debut… Her vocals are stirring and emotive, while conveying raw emotion that perfectly encapsulates the anxieties and addictions of love and loss… Just sublime.” Clash – 8/10

A concise yet profound debut album that displays incredible craft both lyrically and dynamically.” Secret Meeting – 8.5/10

“A debut of richness, depth and genuinely shattering emotional engagement – pure melancholic majesty to lose yourself in.” Beats Per Minute – 8.2/10