Irish musician - and onetime member of JJ72 - Hilary Woods has just announced her debut album, and dropped the first track from the record today.
Colt will be released through Sacred Bones (Jenny Hval, The Men) in June and first track "Inhaler" is a fragile beauty.
An elegant piece of music which touches the edges of post rock and minimalist classical, "Inhaler" is based around a cyclical piano motif and ambient string arrangement - with Woods' detached voice floating in and out of the mix. It's telling that Woods has spent a lot of time on soundtrack composition, as this piece feels widescreen...but unassumingly so.
We spoke to Woods recently to find out more about the making of Colt.
BEST FIT: Hi Hilary, what can you tell us about the single?
Hilary Woods: "‘Inhaler’ was written possibly two years ago in the wake of being separated from someone I loved, and it’s lived with me ever since. Sonically it has been stripped back to bare planted piano chords, synths and vocals."
You’ve moved far away from where you began in music...how do you feel about the music you’re making now?
"In a way I feel it’s been a journey back to my very first encounter with music, in that I write mainly on piano which has always been my first instrument, so that feels both very natural and grounding. The songs are personal, and releasing them can feel vulnerable and exposing at times, none of those things came into play whilst playing in a band!!"
What’s been inspiring you lately?
"I’ve been listening to a lot of [frequent Jenny Hval collaborators] Lasse Marhaug and Okyyung Lee, she blows me away. Also the beauty of Sybille Baeir’s Colour Green has been on rotation along with serpentwithfeet and the incredible Jlin."
What’s your recording process? The music feels very naturalistic, unconfined to a studio...
"I recorded this record myself with gear I’d accumulated in a little flat I was living in with my daughter last year in North Dublin. I recorded at home every day and at night I’d listen back making revisions / starting from scratch. Being able to feel my way along in my own time and space was important. And it was a very personal journey in which I conscientiously chose to record it myself at home and steer clear of any studio. I then brought my work to James Kelly (WIFE) in Berlin who co-produced. I knew he would appreciate and keep intact the idiosyncrasies of my production, and he did a beautiful job in meeting me half way and bringing his magic to the mixing desk."
Does the single fit with the rest of the album, or should we expect the unexpected?
"Tonally yes, sonically -the record stretches. In its making I felt that all the songs on the record were branches of the one tree; mood wise they serve each other whilst simultaneously they work as a whole (they were also very stubborn, resisted being added to or subtracted from!)"
Sacred Bones feels like the right home for this music...do you have any favourites from the label?
"And I feel very at home on the label! I’m drawn to every one of the artists on Sacred Bones in different ways. In particular, I’ve always been a fan of Jenny Hval, Pharmakon is hugely inspiring, Marissa Nadler is exquisite and I’ve been digesting David Lynch’s work for years."
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
"I plan to play some very special shows, to bring my music to new audiences, and to embrace playing live."