Sounds | Gabrielle Aplin, Call Me (piano versie)
Deze zal wenkbrauwen doen fronsen, maar ik voelde het nummer gewoon compromisloos en lekker binnenkomen. Ik koos wel bewust voor deze pianoversie die net ietsje meer de folk/indie invloeden van de jonge Engelse singer-songwriter laten horen.
Luister ook naar: Call me
Phosphorescent verschijnt op 13 januari 2023 via Never Fade Records / V2 Records.
Phosphorescent’ is not a lockdown album, but it is the product of the solitude and strangeness that Gabrielle, like so many of us, experienced throughout that time. She admits that she struggled to find her voice during the first national lockdown, but by the time of the second lockdown in the winter of 2020 her circumstances had changed. She had moved to Somerset with her partner and the two touring musicians anchored in a conventional schedule for the first time in forever, while the animals and wildlife that surrounded her new home reinvigorated her mojo.
Gradually, Gabrielle discovered that she was writing songs with a new-found liberation. Often accompanied only by her dog, her creativity returned to the purity she had enjoyed back when she started out. There were no external influences from the industry and she made no firm plans as to what topics she would write about. She had a blank slate.
She says, “I was writing again for fun. I was purely expressing myself with no brief. No-one was telling me what to do, in fact I didn’t have to do anything. At the start there was no goal, but as the songs started emerging I could see that they were about things I’d never really processed until that time. I think a lot of people didn’t really stop until the pandemic forced them, and that was definitely the case for me. A lot of them were addressing things I’d put off until then. It really made me question who I was when everything was stripped away.”
A turning point came as the winter lockdown dragged on. She awoke one morning with the urge to go raving in Ibiza - despite never having considered it before. That made her think of all the small things she’d missed out on, like deciding to stay in rather than going for a drink with a friend: just anything that might’ve provided some more memories to help her through lockdown.
The promise of reconnecting with people became a recurring motif, most notably with ‘Call Me’, but it surfaced in other ways too, making a long overdue apology within the luminous, piano-based pop-soul of ‘Anyway’. And while there are minor regrets (the instantly relatable ‘I Wish I Didn’t Press Send’) the overriding atmosphere is of positivity, as typified by celebrating the best of human spirit on the folky alt-pop of ‘Good Enough’.
Her organic approach continued, first with a life-affirming reunion with her live band at Real World, and then with sessions at the countryside retreat of The Lark’s Tongue studio. There she finished several song ideas with Liz Horsman, while Mike Spencer (producer of her Gold-certified #2 debut album ‘English Rain’) would recreate the environment that Gabrielle was in when she first wrote the songs. If, for example, she had written a song at home sat alone with her dog, Mike would set her up in the vocal booth with just his own dog, Marley, for company. Even the fields nearby proved to be an inspiration, with Gabrielle feeding the ducks each day and lovingly incubating some eggs that she found outside her doorstep. You can even hear the local wildlife at the start of the album’s opening song ‘Skylight’.
This connection with nature heightened her passion for sustainability, which is an ethos which she is applying throughout the entire album campaign. The first big step was that The Lark’s Tongue is powered by a ground-pump heat source, while other ideas big and small soon followed: using vintage and repurposed clothing for the album’s photoshoot, using the farm she volunteers at as a location; exploring recycled methods of vinyl production; and finding sustainable ways to create her merchandise.
While ‘Phosphorescent’ emerged in a challenging time, it’s ultimately the strongest representation yet of who Gabrielle Aplin really is - as well as the artist that she is going to be in the years to come.
“It felt like I was making an album for the first time,” she concludes. “The recording process really felt just so natural. It was great for me because it made me really get to know myself as to who I am right now, considering so much has changed. I just want people to connect to it in whatever way possible. I hope they can get as much from listening to it as I got from making it.”