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ED HARCOURT

Ed Harcourt

El Magnifico

    Making his debut with the Mercury Prize-nominated Here Be Monsters in 2001, Harcourt has released music under his own name that blends raw emotions, impeccable songwriting and visionary flights of imagination. A succession of ten rich, enthralling albums have followed that first spark of his, including the intoxicating addictive Strangers in 2004; 2013’s breathless Back Into The Woods which was recorded in just eight hours; and Furnaces which compellingly and entreatingly envisioned family ties confronted by the small matter of the apocalypse. After that LP in 2016, Harcourt then moved to explore the instrumental sphere with recent soundscape albums Beyond The End and Monochrome To Colour.

    While recognisably bearing all the hallmarks that have made him such an admired and prolific songwriter, one of Britain’s most cherished yet inventive music creators, Ed’s new record, El Magnifico, also finds him striving for something new. It is an Ed Harcourt record, but one with a desire to seek fresh reward.

    With his body of work to date, it would be foolhardy for Harcourt not to lean on his artistic foundations, not just as a solo artist, but as an acclaimed music-maker in a variety of guises. His creativity has stretched beyond his own impressive catalogue too. Consistently inspired by the power of collaboration, as a writer, producer and, often, one-man backing band, he has aided the musical visions of the likes of Afghan Whigs, Lissie, Jamie Cullum, The Libertines and Marianne Faithfull, plus has worked with an array of fast-rising new talents. He has also engaged closely with filmmakers, scoring movies and documentaries and is a member of the gloriously louche, sonically hard bitten rock trio Loup Garoux.

    With that array of creativity fizzing behind him, Harcourt enjoys a spectrum-spanning number of outlets of expression, ensuring his bountiful creativity and cascading of ideas always find an appropriately unique home. And ‘El Magnifico’ is the beneficiary of this immense scope and musical insight. 


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Classic, swooning ballads written with Harcourt's unmistakeable melodic ear and wry lyrical style. there are as many moments of brittle restraint as there are jubilant celebration. It's a beautifully sequenced and wonderfully produced wonder.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. 1987
    2. Into The Loving Arms Of Your Enemy
    3. Broken Keys
    4. Strange Beauty
    5. The Violence Of The Rose
    6. Ghost Ship
    7. Deathless
    8. Anvils & Hammers
    9. My Heart Can’t Keep Up With My Mind
    10. At The Dead Of The World
    11. Seraphina
    12. El Magnifico

    Ed Harcourt

    Monochrome To Colour

      Haunting and other-worldly new record from Ed Harcourt, his ninth studio album and second release on Point Of Departure following 2018’s ‘Beyond The End’.

      Recorded at his own Wolf Cabin studio in rural Oxfordshire between January and October 2019, this beautiful 12-track album was written and produced entirely by Harcourt. It features Clive Deamer from Portishead on drums on three tracks, and Gita and Amy Langley on violin and cello respectively

      The new album is full of rapturous outreach. It was made with an interesting blend of instrumentation, ancient and modern. There’s a 1910 Hopkinson baby grand piano and also a dulcitone, a 19th-Century oddity where hammers strike an array of tuning forks.

      A much-acclaimed recording artist who released his Mercury Prize nominated debut ‘Here Be Monsters’ on Heavenly Records in 2001, in recent years Harcourt has gained acclaim for his songwriting for a variety of artists. He’s co-written songs with Marianne Faithfull, Lisa Marie Presley, Paloma Faith, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Orbital’s Paul Hartnoll. He’s featured on albums with Mark Lanegan and alongside an intercontinental array of musicians, from Egypt and Tanzania to Argentina and Russia (this global cast featuring on the 2019 album ‘Beyond Music: Same Sky’). Moving from bands to the big screen, Ed has written for several soundtracks, including the recent superhero comedy Supervised and the 2014 drama Like Sunday, Like Rain.

      TRACK LISTING

      First Light
      Ascension
      Drowning In Dreams
      Her Blood Is Volcanic
      Only The Darkness
      Smiles For You
      Death Of The Siren
      After The Carnival
      Last Rites
      So Here’s To You, Hally
      Childhood
      King Raman
      Monochrome Into Colour

      Ed Harcourt

      Beyond The End

        A much acclaimed recording artist who released his Mercury Prize nominated debut, Here Be Monsters on Heavenly Records in 2001, in recent years his has gained acclaim for his songwriting for a variety of artists.

        The album, which follows Furnaces, his 2016 album for Polydor, sees Ed Harcourt add another new string to his multi-faceted musical bow. Something of a left-turn after its busy, big-screen, somewhat under-appreciated predecessor, it sees the supremely versatile singer, writer and all-round instrumentalist bravely eschew vocals and lyrics and create a soft-spoken yet emotionally loquacious group of piano-led instrumentals, as if sound-tracking an as yet invisible film, or responding to today’s ferocious shouting match of a planet with a mesmerizing, meditative calm. “The world that we live in, we’re exhausted by the internet, social media, the sheer barrage of news and vomit being rained down us on a daily basis. You can’t avoid it, and it’s tiring. So this record came from taking a step back – it’s something that’s trying to be beautiful. My hope is that people might choose to swim amongst this music when it all gets too much.”

        Talking about the gestation of the album, which was written and recorded at his ‘Wolf Cabin’ studio in Oxfordshire Harcourt said, “I knew I wanted to buy a new piano. Eventually I found this 1910 Hopkinson Baby Grand, which is exactly the same make and era as my grandmother’s piano which I started learning on and wrote my first three records on. I felt at home again. I needed a break from singing and lyrics so I began writing instrumental music. I grew up listening to and playing Debussy, Satie, Mozart, Grieg, as well as modern composers like Max Richter, Philip Glass, Arvo Part. I also loved Warren Ellis (with whom Harcourt worked on the new Marianne Faithfull album) and Nick Cave’s score for The Assassination Of Jesse James… 


        TRACK LISTING

        1. Diving Bell
        2. Wolves Change Rivers
        3. Duet For Ghosts
        4. Empress Of The Lake
        5. Keep Us Safe
        6. Faded Photographs
        7. For My Father
        8. For My Mother
        9. Beneath The Brine
        10. There Is Still A Fire
        11. Circling Red Kites
        12. Whiskey Held My Sleep To Ransom

        Ed Harcourt

        Back Into The Woods

          For Ed Harcourt’s sixth studio album, the previously Mercury Prize nominated artist spent just six hours in Abbey Road with three pianos, a guitar, a string section (including Ed’s wife Gita), and a bottle of Wild Turkey.

          Legendary photographer Steve Gullick was at the historic studios, and his shot from the control room has become the record’s cover art.

          Think Tom Waits piano ballads, guitars haunted by Jeff Buckley, and a glimmer of ‘69 Love Songs’ sentimentality.

          One of the reasons for the recording time constraints is that Ed was busy writing songs for the likes of Kristina Train (with Van Dyke Parks) and Paloma Faith, and also for Lisa-Marie Presley’s debut album (with Richard Hawley). He’s also been busy as Faber’s director of music for Beck’s Song Reader project, and recording tracks for the Rogue’s Gallery sea shanty album featuring Tom Waits, Keith Richards and more.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Andy says: Some really beautiful, poetic and always melodic songs here. So talented.


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