To The Boats is out on 3rd June 2020. The song is a warm and nostalgic duet with Singer-Songwriter Sophie Kilburn. The instrumentation is sparse and earthy with autoharp and ‘First Aid Kit’-inspired harmonies with a ghostly layer of incidental sounds leading the imagination towards a dark lake in a lush Summer forest.
“I wrote ‘To The Boats’ in the summer of 2019 in a Welsh chapel. The lyrics came together like a jigsaw puzzle whilst searching through titles of books that covered the back wall.”
‘To The Boats’ follows my latest single ‘Bird of Paradise’ that was aired on Tom Robinsons After Hours show on BBC6 Music. The release preempts the EP, ‘Things We Learned To Live With’, that is planned for release in Autumn 2020. The EP is a collection of intricately arranged contemporary folk ballads, sharing musical language with artists such as Regina Spektor, This Is The Kit and Laura Marling.
SEVEN SISTERS explores the mythical stories behind how an entire area in North London took name after a ritualistically planted circle of Elm trees. Seeing Seven Sisters on the tube map every day, Asthmatic Harp was intrigued to investigate the origins of the peculiar name. What she discovered was far more mysterious than she could have ever imagined. The stories spoke about ancient pre-Roman druid gatherings, an arboreal memorial to a protestant martyr and seven sisters’ farewell ritual all connected to the circle of trees on Page Green that are still standing there to this very day.
SEVEN SISTERS depicts the story of the sisters about to leave their family home and go out into the world. Asthmatic Harp explains, “It is a song that plays with the tension between on one hand clinging to the warmth and nostalgia of home, and on the other hand longing to leave home behind, embarking on new journeys to unknown territory”.
SEVEN SISTERS unravels the hopes and dreams alongside the melancholia of a farewell that is inevitably part of every new beginning.
“Are we about to go separate ways?
We are about to face distance and departures on different stations.
How will we grow in this new situation?”
BIRD OF PARADISE balances a bittersweet love song within a playful arrangement of folky guitar, delicate synth and percussion, vocals and clarinet, interwoven with charming imagery of finding a familiar flower in a foreign country and lovers in spring.
The song has a Cole Porter tribute embedded in the lyrics “What is this thing called spring?”. With a gentle nod to the famous jazz standard, What is This Thing Called Love, Bird of Paradise calls on the synchronous nature of heedlessly falling in love with the coming of spring.
"Gentle, ambient guitar and alluring vocals start things off in Birds Of Paradise, creating an instant sense of belonging. This is the sort of music that can calm you down during the most violent of storms. (...) What follows is a beautiful and finely crafted song that takes you down a river of catchy melodies and thought-provoking lyrics."
- Daniel Fagan, Independent Music News
MOORGATE can be described as Scandinavian noir taking inspiration from popular TV dramas such as the Killing and the Bridge. The single is accompanied by a thriller-like video set in a surreal animated universe that takes us to crime scenes around London.
“On my daily commute to Moorgate station I would entertain myself reading the free newspapers. I was horrified by the number of blood grippingly detailed crime stories reported from in and around London. I soon realised the absurdity in sitting on the tube becoming numb to the dramatic reality of those stories while spending my evenings watching TV crime dramas such as The Killing and The Bridge.”
KILBURN is the first single of three from Asthmatic Harp’s new conceptual song collection, Royal Mail. The three songs are named after London Tube stations, carrying the titles:
Kilburn, Moorgate and Seven Sisters.
The songs are written as letters that encapsulate the stories and atmospheres evoked by the chosen Tube Stations.
The release offers melodic pop songs in an imaginative universe of string and clarinet arrangements, sampled toy pianos and an old record player in a Welsh chapel. The music is playfully strung together around Hannah’s stunning and evocative voice.
“There is something special about the handwritten letter. I think it is incredible thinking about all these envelopes that are lying in a red box until a postal company picks them up. I find it similar to all the music in cyberspace just waiting to get downloaded. I can reveal that the Danish postal service isn’t known for being particularly efficient so I really do hope that my musical letter, Kilburn, will reach you!”
LOST ASTRONAUT is based on a childhood nightmare that transformed the shadows of the night into aliens and turned sleep into involuntary space travel. At the turn of millennium people revelled in conspiracy theories and doomsday speculations. In the schoolyard, kids exchanged pulp fiction about distant galaxies and at the local library a young girl consumed science fiction novels, one after the other.
Daydreams flickered through the children’s imaginations, morphing into nightmares about being selected for a space mission — one that goes fatally wrong, flinging the astronauts out into the infinite universe.
The five songs of the EP explore the fundamental, existential anxiety and angst caused by the feeling of being a “lost astronaut” in a world that at times can feel incomprehensible and meaningless.
LOST ASTRONAUT gives voice to the anxieties caused by life’s endless search for meaning, and expresses the poetic beauty that emerges when facing the unknown, the incomprehensible.