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POINT OF DEPARTURE

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.

    An amorphous musical collective put together by Rich Machin and Duke Garwood, with a rolling cast of players assembled from the likes of Soulsavers, Spiritualized, Stereolab and Julian Cope. For Machin, Garwood and the other musicians (Ray Dickaty, Tim Lewis (aka Thighpaulsandra), Pete Marsh, Paul May Doggen), a sense of adventure and devil-may-care inventiveness took precedence over precise design when they started the recording process at Gabriel’s Real World studio in the autumn of 2017.

    'One of the big things I wanted to achieve with this record was breaking away from things being super planned out,' Machin explains. 'To actually just go into a studio without having everything mapped out in advance. And being comfortable enough to see what happens. It was incredibly stressful at first, but once you realize it works it’s actually a really nice way to work.'


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Like a slo-mo distillation of Joe Henderson and Alice Coltrane, the quiet temple serve up a trundling jazzy bouquet brimming with languid psychedelic flourishes, slowly growing into a bloom otherworldly drone. Properly hypnotic and brilliantly emotive.

    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… 



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