Announces New Album Time of Dust
+ New song ‘The Saddest Orchestra (It Only Plays For You)’
+ Next London Show: Nov 15th, Islington Assembly Halls
On January 6th 2014, the critically-celebrated British songwriter Ed Harcourt will release Time of Dust, a 28-minute long mini-album of new material via CCCLX Music. There are still pianos and bitter-sweet lyrical twists, but a darkness has descended and the record marks the beginning of a slightly gloomier new sound.
Thirteen years ago, a mini-album named Maplewood was Ed’s first release, “Time of Dust feels not unlike its distant cousin” says Ed. “Early next year, I’m heading into the studio with Flood (Nine Inch Nails, PJ Harvey, etc) to work on an album of evil songs, but before I set sail for the edge of the world, I wanted to break people in gently. Think of Time of Dust as a piece of the map I’ll be using to navigate the fog and fire. Or maybe it’s the creak of the floorboard before the wolf pounces?”
With its sizzled-synths and thunderous crescendo, the epic ‘The Saddest Orchestra (It Only Plays for You)’ provides a clue as to where Ed’s ship is sailing (Listen here: http://bit.ly/Sadcloud or grab the embed code below). The tones are a little darker than we’re used to hearing from him, but it’s not a complete departure for the troubadour. Ed has always had a malevolent air to his music and there were hints with songs like ‘Beneath the Heart of Darkness’ and ‘God Protect Your Soul’ that Ed could quite merrily share a cell-in-hell with Nick Cave and Tom Waits, but “there’s an evil skulking out of me at the moment” Ed says, “and I’m not sure the angel-headed hipsters fly where the tides are tugging my vessel.”
2013 has been a busy year for Harcourt. From co-writing and producing a new album for Sophie Ellis-Bextor (also set for release in January 2014), to festival appearances at the likes of Glastonbury, Latitude and a headline slot at End of the Road, his dog-eared diary has never seen so much action. He’s been musical director for Beck’s Song Book at the Barbican, writtens songs with amongst others Kathryn Williams, Ren Harvieu and Sam Smith, composed soundtracks for three movies due in 2014, recorded collaborations with Rae & Christian and Nouvelle Vague’s Melanie Pain, and brewed his own beer (an ‘Edwardian Brown Ale’) with Signature Brew, which after an initial test run of 2000 bottles sold out, the production is being ramped up. His sixth studio album, Back Into the Woods, was released to much acclaim (see below) in February, and then there was that #WIZARDBOUNCE “album” he gave away on April Fool’s Day.
Some songs from Time of Dust will be previewed on his upcoming Scandinavian tour and when he performs at Islington Assembly Hall on November 15th (tickets onsale now).
Praise for Back Into the Woods:
“…one of the most beautiful, heart-breakingly tender albums of the last year, if not decade, if not ever.” - Clash, 9/10
“…may be his best release to date.” - The Sunday Times
“…elegant 6th album from underrated national treasure.” - Uncut
“…nine gorgeous songs that sit beautifully together.” - The Quietus
“…reflecting wistfully on William Blake and Mozart’s commercial failure…. moments of deft, delicate brilliance here to remind us of what a gifted songwriter he is…. Recorded in one night at Abbey Road…. like being in the front row of an exceptionally cosy concert…. Harcourt’s lovely oaken voice rustles and creaks as if he’s singing directly into the listener’s ear, while the piano chords seem to tremble through your skin…. breathtaking…. a subtle and seductive delight.” - BBC
“…Harcourt alone at the piano, delivering lushly romantic odes to “underdogs” and “the dreamers who pay no heed to good advice”. Lyrics casting him as a repentant roué saved by family life call for a grizzled Tom Waits groan; yet the singer’s gentler tones lend the songs a rousing, optimistic air.” - FT Weekend
Ed Harcourt - The Saddest Orchestra (It Only Plays For You)
Q have premiered this new Ed Harcourt track, taken from his forthcoming album Time of Dust, which is due for release on January 6th 2014 via CCCLX.
Ed told Q: “This song is for all those whose misery is their one true god. It’s a celebration for those with a private box in the theatre of gloom.” Read more of his introduction to the track here.
You can discuss this track over on Facebook, here.