Photo by Bex Day
West London’s Westerman today shares his new single ‘Albatross’, taken off his forthcoming Ark EP out November 9 via Blue Flower Records. Listen below.
“Albatross’ is set on a lake in my mind where I go to escape the worries of day to day existence,” he explains of the EP’s lead track. “It’s a more innocent and natural place. There is a growing impingement on that place as time starts to feel like it moves faster, and more demands emerge. The song looks at that threat both to the physical environment and our own psychology through the inevitability of an ever changing landscape.”
Soaring up through dreamy falsetto and dipping into pools of thought through organic fret squeaks, opening track ‘Albatross’ sits at Ark’s core. A sonic architect engineering other worldly spaces for every idea to exist within, Westerman’s collaboration with producer Bullion is at the heart of the EP’s mood; “After ‘Albatross’ a lot of ideas came very quickly, I just tried to follow all of them while they were still really fresh. It was an intense process with little sleep and very little contact with anyone or anything.”
Written over a 3-day period, it’s only when listened to as complete work that its true meaning reveals itself. “I’d been travelling a lot more than I’m used to and was really stealing time to write,” he remembers. “I had this brief window to go into myself and try to make sense of the shifts that were going on around me and I wrote ‘Albatross’. I think the feeling of retreating from a hectic external schedule influenced how I wrote it. I wanted the recording to feel looser than the tracks released earlier this year because the music was so new and vital when we recorded it. There hadn’t been so much of the re-drafting and editing I usually go through, so I wanted that to be mirrored in the production.”
Until now, we’ve been offered momentary glimpses in to Westerman’s world. Since releasing the sparse and charismatic debut EP Call and Response, he has gradually been burning a hole through the fabric of atmospheric pop with his dulcet tones and blend of magical-realism. With nods to left-field forbearers Nick Drake, David Byrne and Arthur Russell, Westerman’s music “has the power to soothe modern anxieties, if not solve them” (Pitchfork).
Described as a “modern sophisti-pop miracle”, February’s breakout single ‘Confirmation’ saw Pitchforkname it their Best New Track and Gorilla Vs Bear ‘10th best single of the year (so far)‘. A string of singles furthered to impress; ‘I Turned Away’, ‘Easy Money’, and a timely song about megalomania ‘Edison’ (as performed for Colors) ensured profiles in DIY, Highsnobiety, Dazed, Clash, BEAT, Stereogum, Noisey and FADER, champions in Lauren Laverne and Huw Stephens.
Singled out among others as buried treasure in The Guardian’s Latitude review, other summer performances at Green Man and support tour with Dirty Projectors, position Westerman as one of London’s most exciting emerging artists, earning equal respect from his peers.
With an album in the works, Westerman has been biding his time waiting for the opportune moment to make his mark. Now, readying his next tour – which includes US and European dates, slots at Reeperbahn and his largest headline show to date at London’s Oslo, the next phase in his evolution is now. “Ark is a symbol of solace and of transition,” he says. “I wanted this music to feel empowering as a challenge to my usual rhetoric and hopefully this set of tracks can provide that for the listener.”
‘Albatross’ is out now, buy/stream it here.
The Ark EP is out on November 9 on Blue Flowers.