NEWS: Alanis Morissette Announces November UK Tour

Multi-platinum, Grammy winning artist Alanis Morissette has just released her highly anticipated seventh studio album, HAVOC AND BRIGHT LIGHTS, on 27th August with Columbia UK and will return to the UK this November starting with a huge show at London The O2.

Produced by Guy Sigsworth (Björk, Madonna, Seal) and Joe Chiccarelli (Tori Amos, Elton John, My Morning Jacket, U2) and recorded in Los Angeles, the new album marks the songstress’ first release in four years.  Fans will be able to purchase the album’s first single, “Guardian,” on 26th August.

“This record, as always, is a snapshot of what I currently obsess about, care about, and what strikes me at 4 in the morning in my most introspective moments,” says Morissette. “It is my emotional, psychological, social and philosophical commentary through song. I can’t wait to share it with this fun and funny planet, and to tour, and can’t WAIT to have the lively, engaging and challenging conversations that these songs may invite.”

Following a string of sold out shows in June Alanis will return to the UK this November:

November
Weds 28th            London                         The O2                                                0844 856 0202
Thurs 29th             Nottingham             Capital FM Arena                         0843 373 3000
Fri 30th             Liverpool             Echo Arena                                     0844 8000 400

Tickets available from 9.00am on Friday 31st August from www.gigsandtours.com<http://www.gigsandtours.comand from 24hr CC Hotline: 0844 811 0051

The Kaje talks Reclaimed to Louise Latham

Welsh songstress Louise Latham blew The Kaje away with her recently released debut album “Reclaimed”. An effortless, timeless release, Latham has far from followed the current trends, yet still managed to release a fully relevant and provoking debut. With echoes of many of the all-time great female soloists-from the American: Paula Cole, Tori Amos and Sarah MacLachlan, through the homegrown: Kate Bush and Nerina Pallot, Latham’s versatile vocal and ethereal presence are both uplifting and engaging. With the female vocalist still holding strong at the forefront of the music scene, Latham introduces an interesting side step from the power ballad and soul lament. In a class entirely of her own, Latham needs no comparison, simply an introduction. For that reason, The Kaje wasted no time in inviting Latham to Kensington Palace Park for a quick chat to find out more…

“Reclaimed” is your debut album – are you ready for it be released?

Reclaimed has been a labour of love, an incredible amount of passion and commitmen thas gone into the making of it! There has to be a point however where you let a creative endeavour go out into the world and thankfully I feel this naturally. I am ready to share the album and I have a wonderful team surrounding Reclaimed that understand and appreciate the music. My manager Maarten Sol has beautifully crafted a plan for release and we are enjoying seeing the whole campaign and months of dedicated preparation unfold!

Can you tell us a little about the thought process behind the album?

When I was thinking about the songs I wanted to include for Reclaimed I realised that I wanted to tell a story, not only within each song but also within the album as a whole. I have always been drawn to wistful stories full of longing and yearning for someone or something, you can see this in my writing. I wanted Reclaimed to tell the story of reclamation, about returning to something that you have lost. I brought together songs that had that particular theme or atmosphere and decided I wanted to record them with a full, rich analogue sound evocative of the beauty found in early Joni Mitchell records like “Blue”.

What would you say were your lyrical inspirations for the record?

Stylistically, I think I’ve been inspired by the writings of John Fowles and Daphne du  Maurier. In the novels by both of these authors there is an atmosphere created in the books that is haunting and evocative. I am drawn to this style of story telling. The stories I tell when I write are created spontaneously in the moment, on the record the songs take their inspiration from awakened memories and feelings of longing for a lost love.

How did you settle on the title ‘Reclaimed’?

The central theme is reclaiming something that has been lost and renewing it to its former glory. Either the memory of a loved one, your identity and freedom, the stories and souls of the past or the melody of a beautiful moment in time. Sometimes returning can be as intense and moving as discovery.

The album has a mixture of sonic influences – who would you say had the greatest impact?

I think that would have to be Sarah McLachlan. The sound I discovered in “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy” was a combination of raw intimacy with epic, cinematic arrangements. The piano and her voice are the central instruments and around these are layers of rich instrumentation. “Reclaimed” has a similar feel, the producer Arno Guveau and myself wanted to create something pure and earthy with mainly strings and vocal harmonies surrounding the voice and piano to create a celtic, magical and haunting sound. The sound is organic and intimate whilst being uplifting and dynamic.

Reviews are citing similarities to Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos, Paula Cole and Cara Dillon. How do you feel about these?

There is something common to all these artists, they have a purity of vision and commitment to their music. Musically, the piano is one of the main instruments on these artist’s records and is used in a cinematic way. Writing myself on the piano I think I am naturally drawn to this instrument being used to tell the story. Also each of these artists has an ethereal and pure quality to their voice which I also take as an inspiration.

What have been the best and worst comparisons you have heard?

The best comparison would have to be Sarah McLachlan as her music has continued to move and inspire me as each album is released. There is an honesty and integrity to her creativity and her voice is sublime. The worst comparison was when someone  compared me to an artist I don’t sound remotely like, this was a bit confusing!

“Erase Me” is the current single from the record-what made it stand out for you?

Erase Me is one of my most dramatic tracks and has an energy that is very direct and immediate. I thought I would like to start with one of my rawer, more candid songs. The song is about being stalked and is deeply personal.

How do you set about choosing the singles?

They are usually songs that have a strong sense of universality. When myself and my manager were selecting singles, we concentrated on the songs that we felt were the most open, dynamic and memorable. Maarten did research into the popularity of certain songs from the album by approaching several listeners and asking them to choose their favourite track. It was obvious from feedback which tracks should be the singles.

If you had to recommend a skip to track, which would it be and why?

I would recommend you skip to track 8, as ‘Young Boy’ has a beautiful and haunting double bass intro! The story is about the transition of a young boy moving from childhood into adulthood and how we deal with hurt during this time.

What is your personal highlight on the album?

“Gilded Bird” is a cinematic song that takes you on a journey from land, across the sea. The production (by Arno Guveau) is so atmospheric.The harmonies and strings glide  and soar reflecting the flight of the bird. Also I feel very connected to this song as vocally it is one of my most expansive – deep low notes reaching to long sustained high ones!

What are your hopes for the record?

I hope that “Reclaimed” finds listeners around the world, that it connects with people and that its success leads to many more albums to come.

You have been building a fan base on the live circuit – do you prefer performing to recording?

With live performances there is an exchange with the musicians on stage and the audience and this is really spontaneous and intimate. I definitely feel more vulnerable and laid bare emotionally when I perform which is where the intimacy happens. For me, when recording it is about creating a feeling of safety so the creative collaboration between the producer, artist and musicians can blossom. I love both performing live and recording, both are fulfilling and challenging.

What has been your live highlight?

I had a recent performance at Blackheath Halls, London on a Bosendorfer grand piano which was a real treat. I performed with a wonderful cellist called Sacha McCulloch and the combination of the acoustics in the room, the quietness of the audience and the richness of these two instruments meant I was in sonic heaven!

Which song do you most look forward to performing?

‘Saint’, it has a poignancy and lyrically a universality which connects with people. Understanding and accepting loved ones imperfections is something I think many of us struggle with and is the main theme of the song. Whenever I perform this song it resonates, it always has meaning and relevance in my life.

The Kaje talks break-ups to Mark Hole

A few weeks ago we received an email about a singer/songwriter called Mark Hole. We knew nothing of the name, nor did we have high expectations for his oddly titled single ‘Torture Garden’. But within moments of clicking the link contained within the promotional email we had fallen in love with his ode to the break up. Far from angry or resentful, without the need to wax lyrical about his former flame, Hole’s offering was honest, meaningful and moving. It left us wanting more. Thankfully he fulfilled our initial craving with his rendition of “Stupid Love” for The Kaje Sessions and has since taken time out of his schedule to tell us a little more about both himself and the tender ‘Torture Garden’…

Your current single is ‘Torture Garden’ – can you tell us a little about the track…

Yeah sure, ‘Torture Garden’ is a break up song, yet it celebrates love. It doesn’t stem from hate or negativity like many of these songs do. It merely speaks the truth that she is wonderful but isn’t right for me and vice versa. I’m all about the love!

‘Torture Garden’ is a very open response to a break up – is songwriting a form of emotional release for you?

Indeed it is. When the break up happened I was consumed by everything I had done wrong and all that I could have done better. This was my way of putting things right. After I’d finished writing I could sleep again.

Do you feel vulnerable when releasing such an honest track for public consumption?

No and a little bit yes. I do feel something, and from time to time think “God, this is a bit heavy isn’t it?! There was no need for that!” I mean do I really need to do this? I think, yes… These things need to be heard.

For those who have not heard your work before, how would you describe yourself as an artist?

Just think of me as a singer song writer called Mark Hole, who’s a little emotional but likes to entertain more than he likes to cry. Just listen, buy my records and get yourself to a gig. I won’t let you down.

What has been the most memorable description of your work to date?

Playing to 3 and half thousand people at the Royal Albert Hall.

Who would you say have been your main influences?

This is always a strange question to me as the people I sound like I’ve never heard of. It’s only from playing my music that people say I sound similar to Rufus Wainwright, Randy Newman Jeff Buckley, who I am all now addicted to. I did listen to a lot of music with my mum like Queen, Abba and Elton John… I love them all just like I love my mum! Oh and I think Ben Folds Five must have influenced me. But then again everything influences our taste, does it not?

What would you say is your ultimate goal?

My ultimate goal is to live and breathe music to infinity and beyond, but to headline Glastonbury would make my life.

With that in mind-what can we expect next from you?

My new album “Always Follow Your Heart”

More information can be found at http://www.markhole.com

Interview by Jeremy Williams

ALBUM REVIEW: Soap&Skin “Narrow”

Soap&Skin (Anja Plaschg) is not the type of artist whose work would be deemed ‘radio friendly’. Fair enough Jo Whiley may have given the stirring “Wonder” the odd spin on her Sunday night show, but that barely counts. While “Wonder” may represent the sole ‘commercial’ outing of Plaschg’s long-awaited sophomore release “Narrow”, it also  offers a fair insight into what the 21 year Austrian composer has on offer on her scintillating release.

Without venturing two far from the harrowing heartbreak of her 2009 debut “Lovetune For Vacuum”, Plaschg redefines the piano-based lovelorn lustre that Adele so rightly owned in 2011. While comparisons to Adele sonically are extremely inappropriate, on a content level, the two songwriters draw heavily on their emotional turmoil and translate the journeys into tragic tales that are easy for a listener to relate to.

For those unaware of Soap&Skin’s earlier work, it would be fair to say that while Adele caters for the radio listener, Plaschg focuses her energies to the left of centre. With a vocal that may provoke Regina Spektor comparatives, Plaschg boasts a little Polly Scattergood, a little Agnes Obel, a little P.J. Harvey, a little Tori Amos and a little Bjork, without ever losing her own startling presence.

“Narrow” contains compositions of epic proportions. The devastatingly uplifting “Vater” kicks off proceedings, with Plaschg focusing on the loss of her father with both experimental flare and a serene sincerity. While the twists and turns of “Vater” highlights both the highs and lows of loss, it sets the tone perfectly for what is to come. From here Plaschg takes us on a colourful journey through the industrial “Deathmental” and the tender “Cradelsong” before concluding with the brief drama of “Big Hand Nails Down”.

With each twist and turn, Plaschg is able to further entice her listener into her mindspace. “Narrow” is a colourful, challenging listen that warrants exploration. The experimental realm of Soap&Skin may not seem as immediately appealing as her commercial counterpart Adele, but “Narrow” is every inch as enticing as the stunning “21”.

Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams

The Kaje talks the music industry to Petra Jean Phillipson

2011 has been a busy year for Brighton based songstress Petra Jean Phillipson. Not only has she completed work on her second solo LP ‘Notes On: Death’, but she has also launched MONTPATRY PRESS, got involved in film making, jam making, studio building and sound installation. On top of all her solo projects, Phillipson has also managed to somehow fit in production work on M.N. Hoppwood’s debut album ‘And To His Last’ as well as agreeing to score Philippe Vartan Khazarian’s ‘Deviation’. Yet despite her hectic schedule, Phillipson is only too happy to jump on a train and meet The Kaje for a quick tea in London’s Hyde Park and talk candidly about the state of the music industry…

You are a lady of many talents – how do you manage to fit everything from jam making to musical composition in?

When you ask the question I think ‘goodness, it is incredibly complicated’, but really it is incredibly simple. It all stems from being an art school student. I think it stems from having a very busy mind. The way I always used to work at art school was I would be to just physically make a record – do all the artwork, make an outfit for performances. I would always parody love songs, I would just take the piss out of them in a feminist kind of way. It was really great fun. In actual fact I still do just that. I love to work on lots of different things at the same time. I really love to keep things fresh and flowing naturally. I get bored very quickly and easily, so I tend to do a bit of everything.

Your career has been embraced by the mainstream, yet you stick rigidly to your DIY roots… Is there a reason for this decision?

I kind of prefer making to buying things. I think it is the way the record market is going. People want to be self-sufficient. But it also helps with self-esteem, to be able to sell actual hand-made records. I feel quite strongly about that.

It is all a kind of reaction to having been impersonal and to having been reasonably successful. When that happens you are just shifted around in a bottle. It found I didn’t really love the music industry very much, but what I do love about it is people. I really make music to connect with people. I love just bringing people together. It comes back to a tribal instinct. As I get older I understand these things intellectually. It is about connecting with the people around you who you work with, not being hidden away by all these people around you doing all that stuff for you.

‘Notes On: Death’ is the follow-up to ‘Notes On: Love’ – can you tell us what your goals for the record are…

My first reaction is that my goal is a trilogy, ‘Notes On: Death’ is the second in the trilogy. I don’t really have a goal for it other than to spread it as much as we can. I will come back to you on that…

The trilogy was the first idea, which was really easy and really clear. I think I was really influenced by Rothko, and maybe other painters. But actually making the records, ‘Notes On: Love’ was very much about a personal journey to working out my own personal dysfunction with how I relate to love. Throughout that record I asked lots of questions and found the answers to them. It resolved something personally within me. It was a personal journey of grief, loss and heartbreak really. That is what love was to me.

Then ‘Notes On: Death’, I just experienced so many really sad experiences when I was younger, but also my father experienced three strokes and a friend of mine died, which led to a lot of questions within me as to ‘what is death?’

Also it has a religious context, as to where I fit in society if I am not Christian, I am not C of E, I am not Catholic.. They were all questions I was asking myself. They are just things I am just pondering and they end up being answered in my songs. It is just me and my life in my work.

Have your intentions with your recordings altered through the process of realising them?

At the beginning I thought it was all just quite self-indulgent. I thought I should not be doing this, that I should be a nurse and do something useful in the world. Actually when I started getting feedback from fans who’d say ‘Notes On: Love’ saved their life or helped them through the worst break up ever, I thought it was a good thing to actually write sad songs. When you are sad you do not want to listen to happy songs, they make you feel shit. But if you listen to something sad, you connect with it and don’t feel alone which is a positive outcome.

‘Notes On: Death’ is out now.
http://www.petrajean.com

Words and Images: Jeremy Williams

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