Updated September 2016:
Vanessa Anne Redd
Behind The Wall
Debut Album Released: 7 October
Label: Sharp Attack Records
Formats: Digital + Limited Edition Run of Vinyl & Handmade CDs
Behind The Wall is the debut solo offering from London-based, half-German singer-songwriter and producer Vanessa Anne Redd. Having previously released albums as part of Rubicks, and Six Years, touring with John Foxx and Gary Numan, Behind The Wall sees a departure from earlier electronic endeavours, offering up more pastoral soundscapes.
Behind The Wall is inspired by the work of artists such as Syd Barrettt, Holly Go-Lightly, Nico, Elliot Smith, Leonard Cohen and John Lennon. A ten song languorous record, sweet yet tough, it sparkles with strings, droning guitars, piano, percussion and soothing, ebbing harmonies.
Described by Vanessa as “a simple grunge-folk affair”, Behind The Wall emanates a rainbow of atmospheres, and a sense there’s a story behind each song inspired by places, history, art, personal journeys – psychologically and geographically speaking. Opener Invisible Strings as well as Drona Sticks offer folk-tinged Leonard Cohen-esque musings about people in absence (“but while I’m here we’ll just disappear” - Drona Sticks); while tracks such as The Velvet Undergound-esque Escape is a rock battle cry about fleeing convention. Title track Behind The Wall is lyrically a psychedelic affair with building lilting strings; Road that Drives Us, a piano song conjuring sweet melancholia at every listen and inspired by a Daidō Moriyama photo; whilst Proof is based on a photo by Duane Michaels. Borderlands is a song born from its location, a song written in the sun and reworked under the influence of old war stories from a neighbouring French Resistance hide-out doubling as a Nazi hospital.
The story and title of the Behind The Wall album began in a house, in the secluded French countryside, whilst Vanessa sat on a concrete slab crafting songs in the sun haze and behind a barn wall. It was here, whilst also reading Milton’s Paradise Lost, that Vanessa faced the fear, a biblical snake rising up behind her by day and a rat of a dormouse tormenting her, scampering along the bedposts, by night. This was the first step in going it alone, getting over the fear of being alone, before the ultimate venture – to write her first solo record without a band.
In essence, it’s a female Do It Yourself record about taking charge and facing the fear head on, about lifting the exterior and going deeper into Vanessa Anne Redd’s secret lilac-hued world, as she sings in the title track “no mystery no misery behind the wall”.
The bones of Behind The Wall were recorded on tape at Toe Rag analogue studios with guest appearances including family members Vanessa’s sister Debbie Widdup (violin) and her niece Charlotte Ward (trumpet). The challenge was to use the limitation of 8 tracks, 2 days, 10 songs and the analogue reel to reel to put things down as is, to get the essence of a single performance, no drop ins, no edits. Decisions had to be made quickly.
As Vanessa explains: “This was a crazily ambitious but necessary process, I needed a challenge and wanted to get things down as true as possible to that moment, whatever the outcome.”
The tracks were then honed and developed from these original raw recordings with some additional instrumentation and produced by Vanessa and long-term collaborator Marc Makarov at their Sharp Attack Studios in Leyton, with Marc mixing the final record.
Behind The Wall will be released on 7 October (Digital and on a run of Limited Edition Vinyl and CD) via Sharp Attack Records, the label Vanessa Anne Redd co-owns alongside Marc Makarov.
Press contact – Hannah Gould PR: Hannahgould@hannahgould.co.uk | 07974 000415