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Isobel Anderson — Chalk / Flint (2 June 2017)

Isobel Anderson — Chalk / Flint (2 June 2017)

        Isobel Anderson — Chalk / Flint (2 June 2017)   Isobel Anderson — Chalk / Flint (2 June 2017)•   “Beautiful, shimmering and wonderful... I highly recommend the album… a stunning new record.” — Lauren Lavern — BBC Radio 6 Music
•   “As I go through the pile of CD’s I receive every week sometimes you come across something really special. I love this record... Real effortless simplicity. Dark path is a great album”. — Jamie Cullum — BBC Radio 2
•   “Beautiful, shimmering and wonderful...a stunning new record.” — Lauren Laverne
•   Come and experience a unique and inspiring musical journey.
•   CHALK/FLINT demonstrates Isobel’s growing songwriting prowess. With developments in production and instrumentation, this is a vibrant new album from the Belfast~based artist.
•   The eleven~track album was written and recorded in Belfast, but inspired by Isobel’s childhood home, the jagged white cliffs of South East England’s coastline. The dense instrumental and vocal harmonies, alongside the textured soundscape composition is a nod to Isobel’s MA and PhD in Sound Art.
Location: Belfast ~ Sussex, UK
Genre: Electronic, Pop, Folk, World, & Country
Format: 300 × Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo, 500 × CD, Minimax, Album, Stereo
Album release: 2 June 2017
Record Label: (s/r)
Duration:     40:42
Tracks:
01. {Intro}      1:30
02. Flint Shingle      4:12
03. Feed Me      4:06
04. _4284_      4:31
05. Effortless Pain Relief      4:54
06. Chalky White      3:15
07. Motherchild      3:01
08. Watch You Leave      4:14
09. Terra Incognita      3:44
10. {Through The Arcade}      1:32
11. With You      5:43
Companies, etc.
¨¡¨   Distributed by — Believe
¨¡¨   Recorded — Millbank Studios
¨¡¨   Mastered — Church Road Studios
¨¡¨   Mixed — Millbank Studios
Credits
¨¡¨   Composed, Co~producer, Mixed, Recorded — Isobel Anderson (tracks: 1~11)
¨¡¨   Mastered — Paul Pascoe (tracks: 1~11)
¨¡¨   Mixed, Co~producer, Recorded — Michael Mormecha (tracks: 1~11)
¨¡¨   Sound Designer — Isobel Anderson (tracks: 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11)
¨¡¨   Violin — Ruby Colley (tracks: 2, 4, 5, 7, 9)
Review
By Ben Hogwood | 5 Jun 2017 | Score: ****
•   …when Isobel Anderson’s fourth album is described as being “inspired by the jagged coastline of Sussex,” the curiosity is immediately pricked. Anderson is a singer~songwriter with a refreshingly direct line of communication. That doesn’t mean she sings loud all the time, more that she has clearly thought deeply about how her vocals should be delivered. The production responds accordingly, making sure her thoughts are never clouded or obscured, and it is here that the Sussex coastline becomes clearer.
•   The voice on Chalk / Flint is an incredibly communicative instrument. That may sound an obvious thing to say, but it is rare to find a vocalist capable of varying her delivery to this extent without losing the feeling. The ambiguously titled _4284_  finds her probing the emotional depths. “This is my body, you don’t decide what’s inside,” she states in piercing tone. “You can try and shame me, but you forgot I’m alive.” As personal statements go it doesn’t get much more profound, and the accompanying violins are sweet but suitably descriptive. This and other songs from Chalk / Flint are very close to the bone. Feed Me finds Anderson in confessional mood. “I wanted to apologise, at how I left it last night,” she begins uncertainly, before asserting her position with a firm “just let me feed” delivered over swirling electronics.
•   The references to the Sussex coast are obvious in the cliff references of Chalky White, which gets some clever word play too, but on headphones the sonic picture reveals salty spray and windswept hair in the background. Through The Arcade is a nice piece of virtual reality too, a woozy walk conjuring up images of the old town of Hastings. The field recordings are used to good effect, but so are the strings and electronic trickery Anderson has at her disposal. The pizzicato violin on Flint Shingle is nicely pointed, the string writing in Motherchild is imaginative and rather gorgeous, while the weird, extending tendrils of a single string line brings a ghostly light to Watch You Leave, upping the intensity towards the end of the album.
•   So many records drop off at this point, but it is here that Chalk / Flint really comes into its own. The plaintive vocal of Terra Incognita would otherwise live long in the memory, but everything points towards the final song With You. ‘This is my last song’, delivers Anderson almost ominously, before asking her subject to “run with me into the sea”. The imagery is powerful, talking not just of goodbye but of a new beginning. “My home’s with you,” she finishes, as the dappled textures and distant seagulls retreat from view.
•   Despite the bare bones of its closing bars, Chalk / Flint has a hazy warmth that lingers with the listener. Anderson’s well chosen percussion and sonics are laid onto the vocals with subtle but meaningful brush strokes, the voice speaking with restrained yet remarkably powerful tones. Once the words have died away, the impression is one of inner strength — and it elevates Isobel Anderson as an artist of real substance.
¨¡¨ •   https://www.musicomh.com/
Also:
Melissa Svensen
•   I struggle enough with the idea of writing an album; the idea that a person has the capacity to write not only one, but an entire collection of songs that can evoke emotions, prompt sing~a~longs and simply work together as a collection amazes me. Throw in debilitating tendinitis — inflammation of a tendon — leaving a songwriter unable to write, and in my head it’s a no go. Yet while I oftentimes find myself questioning whether a hangover is reason enough to put off writing, Isobel Anderson managed to write an entire album while tackling tendinitis.
•   The result is CHALK/FLINT: a defiant, beautiful piece of sonic art. Having stored the ideas for the entire record in her mind, before her wrists got better and she could begin writing on the computer, the outcome is a record that is so deeply considered. While a tone of ethereality covers the album as a whole — particularly on tracks like ‘Effortless Pain’ and ‘Chalky White’ which sit side by side mid~album — there’s an honesty in CHALK/FLINT. Take ‘04 4284,’ for example, which sees Isobel tackle issues of body autonomy and abortion rights in Ireland. While her soaring vocals may giving the track a celestial feel, what Isobel tackles is much more real: and in lyrics like “this is my body / you don’t decide what’s inside” and “There are many others who have taken this journey like me,” she faces a difficult issue with both power and grace.
•   There’s a nostalgia about CHALK/FLINT, too. Although recorded in her adopted home of Belfast, the record was written in her hometown, Sussex — and nods are made throughout. From the unimpressed lyrics of ‘Motherchild’ — “all of this town is gentrified, it’s all cafes and cars” — to the album title, which is inspired by the chalk and flint landscape, to sonic nods to the cliffs and sea air of Sussex, Isobel’s inclusion of her hometown proves her songwriting to go far deeper than just words and music. CHALK/FLINT is more of a symphony than an album.
•   MELISSA SVENSEN: Melissa, 21. Assistant Editor. Student and aspiring journalist. ¨¡¨ http://www.gigslutz.co.uk/
Bandcamp: https://isobelanderson.bandcamp.com/album/chalk-flint
Website: http://www.isobelanderson.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/isobelanderson_
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Isobel Anderson — Chalk / Flint (2 June 2017)

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