Every time I walk from my home to Elephant & Caste in London I pass by Elliot’s Row. The road sign is mounted up on a solid brick wall, completely on its own with surrounding bricks washed with dirt and smut. The road connects to another road, or a bus station, or a college nearby. There is a row of Victorian houses. Opposite are some backyards of grey buildings with no faces. The road always makes me stop. Elliott’s Row it says. The Ballad of Big Nothing it sings. A Rose Parade was here. It is a place Between the Bars. Where you Say Yes. Either Or.
Elliott Smith‘s album Either Or has been my home for some time and very influential to my music. I can relate to every second, every hush in his voice, every picking and chord flickering from his acoustic guitar, and the deep soul in his songs. Not perfectly produced, not with many instrumentation, but speaking to your heart.
Some of Elliott Smith’s songs on Either Or are melancholic. But this is only one side of his music. There is a strong uplifting side as well. Maybe less obvious. One that will make you want to embrace life.
I feel that light and darkness are tied together in his music. One does not exist without the other. When he sings I either hear deeply rooted sadness. Or I hear optimism and pure enjoyment. Either Or.
There is a beautiful old car parking. It is ready to go to Angeles. It’s Elliott’s Row. I walk on, grateful.
(A fan made this video for the Elliott Smith’s Angeles)
This is like a dream come true. I am completing the final steps for my debut album Here and Now and my songs have become even more beautiful than I dared to imagine. I will have the album finished soon but it’s going to take some time until I can actually release the album. This will be in December. I thought I give you something already now. So here is a preview video where you can hear and see six songs from Here and Now.
I directed, shot and edited all the videos in this preview. I like to use simple ideas to visualise my music. You will see such things like a running fountain in close-up, a slowly floating ice shield, a reflection of the sun bouncing on water, or a leaf held against the dazzling sun.
The Blue Yonder is the first single from my album. I like this song to be a blueprint for my album as it represents all shades of music you will find on Here and Now. For me the song is about staying in touch with an inner sense of peace. Though “time flies by surprise” there are moments of bliss where you feel something deep within, “the unknown fire that makes you whole and entire”.
St James Park is a declaration of love for life. St James Park in London is indeed where the song started. I often passed by the Park whilst I was humming the song. You are here now I thought. The lines were taking shape: “the leaves on the trees that rustle in the air create a space, that makes me aware of the warmth and the beauty of her face”.
I am optimistic. I believe this weaves through every song on the album, even those exploring the darker aspects of life. I want my music to be accessible and real, but nothing stays dark forever. Even from the most murky places light and hope will always exist.
Fools of Love – a duet with Honduran/British singer Cecilia Delgado – is one such song where I want to express both the longing and uplifting side of love. I am very fond of this song and I am so glad that Cecilia was singing the female part. She is a truly special person and you can feel this in every moment she sings. This will be my second single from my album and the release date will be end of September.
You may notice that there is no percussion on the tracks. I always wanted to record music with only the essentials, a few instruments and the voice. I feel that my songs don’t need more instrumentation. The music takes shape in between the notes, in the space in between, and so does the rhythm evolve naturally.
September, one of two songs I sing in German, is such song with an inner rhythm. The song is about facing death and separation: “Die üblichen Gedanken gehen mir schweigend aus dem Sinn. Nichts ist was ich schon mal sah. Nichts ist ganz sonderbar. Nichts ist ganz sonderbar” (“The usual thoughts leave my mind in silent. Nothing is like it used to be. Nothing is strange. Nothing is strange”)
Early Morning Sun. Long time ago I found a guitar riff that I associated with the sentiment of unconditional love. The riff turned into a song, and the song changed over years. However the changes, the images I associated with the song always remained. Now I feel I have separated shadows from earlier versions of the song. The song is now complete.
The journey on my preview video concludes with Peace. The song is about the freedom found when stop running hard to be fast enough: “I don’t mind that I don’t know, and I don’t know that I don’t mind, this is when things are at peace”.
I plan to publish a video for every song of my album over the next year. I have a lot of video material in preparation already, and I have friends and video artist who will contribute as well.
My dear friends, I am excited about this album and about the future!