’Summer Ghosts’ is the latest single to be taken from musician-writer-DJ
Ben Watt’s upcoming fourth solo LP, ‘Storm Damage’, out on 31 January 2020. It follows the recent singles ‘Figures in the Landscape’ (Spotify New Music Friday UK playlist) and ‘Balanced on a Wire’ described by Black Book as ‘one of the most visceral pieces of music he’s ever recorded’ and premiered on Lauren Laverne’s BBC 6 Music show. “Sonically, it set the tone for the album,” says Watt of the track. “It was first thing I wrote where I pictured the whole production concept – the piano trio, the trap-influenced drums, the synth drones, the cut-up samples, the dense semi-spoken lyrics.” “I got the title after I met John Grant one night,” he continues. “He told me about the Japanese summer tradition of ghosts appearing in August, not – as we often imagine here – in the darkness of winter. I was writing a song about how hard it is to shake your past off, how experiences from years ago can still turn you upside down. The inversion in the title seemed perfect.” “The last verse is then set in Hull where I first met Tracey. I revisited the city in 2017 and was struck by the optimism surrounding its year as City of Culture, but was also moved by the clear scars of economic austerity and my own memories of the place.” In a 9/10 review of ‘Storm Damage’ Uncut says Watt’s “solo renaissance continues”, describing the record as “the third in his excellent recent run of solo albums” and how “the crespuscuar mood, low-simmering anger and abundance of inventive details … evoke Watt’s early mentor Robert Wyatt at his most enthralling and adventurous”. Watt’s late-flowering return to solo songwriting and singing started six years ago after seventeen years in multi-million-selling duo, Everything But The Girl with Tracey Thorn followed by ten years an acclaimed DJ-remixer-label boss with Buzzin’ Fly. 2014’s acclaimed ‘comeback’ album, Hendra won Best Second Album at the AIM Awards, UK. It was followed by Fever Dream in 2106, which caused the Guardian to comment, “In his early fifties Watt in making some of the best music of his career.”
Plus support from Keeley Forsyth
The songs comprising Keeley Forsyth’s debut, an intimate document of personal change, are, she states simply, “like blocks of metal that drop from the sky.” The image’s severity is indicative of the album which provoked it.
With its minimal arrangements placing her recollections and dissections of sometimes harrowing experiences front and centre, Debrisshowcasesher elemental voice and an outpouring of candid, haunting lyrics detailing the seismic ruptures which take place behind closed doors. “There was a lot going on in my life that was heavy and hard,” she adds. “Songs were made under that moment.” Born and raised in Oldham in the north-west of England, Forsyth first made her name as an actor, and while the creation of music has been a constant feature in her life, she’s taken the long road to its release.
A deeply intuitive and singular musician, she began writing several years ago, accompanying herself on harmonium and accordion but reveals that “I never really acknowledged that I was making music. It was just something I did that was a bit more private.”
Watch the official music video for ‘Debris’ here: