Lightship is the fourth album from the Norwegian experimental artist, composer, producer and musician. It has been created collaboratively with her long term producing partner Guy Sigsworth (Björk, Madonna, Alanis Morisette).
Marking the album announcement they have released the brand new single ‘Dream Her To Life’. The song is a curious and playful track featuring Kate’s stunning vocals, wide-ranging harmonies, handclaps, and pizzicato cello played on keys, which together produce a dreamy feel-good glacial anthem full of optimism.
“There’s a story by Borges called ‘The Circular Ruins’,” says Guy introducing the inspirations behind the song. “It’s about a sorcerer who, through intense, focussed meditation, manages to create a companion - a son - by literally dreaming him into life. In the process the sorcerer discovers that he, too, has been dreamt into life by someone else.
“We were riffing on that theme, mixing it up with ideas of the land reviving in spring, after winter hibernation. It sounds super preposterous, I know. But the music has this unique Arcadian feel, as if it’s coming from a magical forest. It just wouldn’t let us write lyrics about going clubbing on a Saturday night, even if we’d wanted to.”
The forthcoming album Lightship has been named after London’s most unique floating recording studio on the River Thames, Lightship 95, where the pair recorded the record.
“As we boarded the Lightship we had no idea what it would be like to work on a boat,” Kate begins about the album. “We could really feel the ship move in the daytime, floating, and by the evening the ship was tilted because of the tide going low. I think even this took us away from our regular habits of writing. For us it was also a bit like floating in space. Somehow the songs became very intimate and felt very close.
“My initial idea with booking the Lightship studio was to get Guy away from the computer-engineer chair and get him to just play and improvise with me. Guy is such an amazing keyboard and piano player and I wanted him to just focus on that and not recording levels, compressors and other technical aspects. And it worked. We were in a big live room away from the controllers, just playing. Our joint idea was to get away a bit from regular song structures and create something more freely by improvising.”
“Kate and I decided we’d try and write a whole album starting purely from duo improvisations,” adds Guy. “In the past we’ve usually started with one of us bringing an idea to the other. I might bring a backing track, or Kate a guitar idea, and the other person would come in and help complete it. But here, we decided we’d just go into the studio and record whatever ideas we came up with, together in the moment, then add lyrics to our favourites and turn them into finished, produced songs.
“We booked five days in the Lightship studios in London. But, strangely enough, almost all the best ideas happened on the first day. When just two people improvise, it’s a very different dynamic from group improvisation. There’s nowhere to hide. You can’t fall back on collective flow or head nodding. Each idea will either immediately inspire a great response within seconds or it won’t.”
The forthcoming album Lightship is a stunning aural artwork of immense expansive sounds, full of rare instrumentation and glorious songwriting, which delivers Kate Havnevik’s most progressive and beautiful record to date.
The majestic single ‘Taking Flight’ was created with the baroque instrument virginals, while the pulsating electronic pop track ‘Into Dark’ has been produced with a ring modulator and FM synth. ‘Space Ark’ showcases the warm sound of a hang drum, while ‘Camp High Hunt Low’ has an uneven GRM organ that flows like wind in a jungle forest.
The wistful ‘Starlight Fires’ features the celesta and creates a fairytale atmosphere with a celebrative beat. The most intimate and personal song on the album is ‘Belong’, a pure track with just vocals and piano detailing the story of personal loss.
Accomplished cellist Ian Burdge (Max Richter, Nitin Sawhney) also performs on the record. He features on the stunning orchestral opener ‘Come Back’, as well as the darkly sinister, yet ultimately serene song ‘Alta’. The latter plays as if to soundtrack a Nordic Noir crime drama and features lush strings alongside a siren serenade from Kate, where her voice muses with beautiful tones yet no lyrics.
Talvin Singh OBE (Björk, Madonna, Massive Attack) also features on the record and provides his unique blend of electronic tabla playing to the to the widescreen ambient escape to paradise ‘Zamami’, inspired by a remote island in the Okinawa region of Japan.
Lightship is a wide-reaching record, which reflects artists free from restraints, revelling in escapism and finding comfort in change. It is a voyage into uncharted territories, where bountiful treasures are there to be found.
LIGHTSHIP TRACK LISTING
- Come Back
- Dream Her To Life
- Into Dark
- Space Ark
- Taking Flight
- Camp High Hunt Low
- Zamami ft. Talvin Singh
- Starlight Fires