Ahead of the release of her long-awaited debut album, the future is here but it feels kinda like the past, out May 20 on [PIAS], adored Eora/Sydney-based musician, visual artist and designer Annie Hamilton today unveils two more songs from the full-length: “Again” and “All The Doors Inside My Home Are Slamming Into One Another.”
Released alongside a self-directed music video, “All The Doors Inside My Home Are Slamming Into One Another” is a tender moment of reflection, remorse, regret and recognition of the truths that we too often don’t want to admit to ourselves. Written during the Australian bushfire season and featuring co-production by Jake Webb (Methyl Ethel) with Luke Davidson(The Preatures) on drums, ‘All The Doors…’ is a sprawling soundscape of piano, synths and guitars, a twinkling musical constellation that flares to a sudden burst of emotional clarity (“I don’t love you anymore”), the merciful first rays of daylight following the tempestuous uncertainty of the night.
“A lot of the lyrical ideas for this song had been floating around in my head during the bushfire season,” says Hamiton. “The wild winds, the ash floating down from the sky, the sense that the world was ending. I recorded the vocals, guitars and synths and sent it to Jake (Webb). He added all the gut-wrenchingly bittersweet piano parts, more synths, all these incredibly beautiful little moments that build up the soundscape. When I first wrote it I imagined it being a bit more upbeat – more frustrated than sad – but the first time I listened when he sent it back I just cried. He took it deeper. Luke Davidson then recorded the drums from his home studio during lockdown”.
Bathed in static and shades of ghostly blue-white, the intimate video for “All The Doors…” picks up on the grainy aesthetics of previous visuals. Her face filling up the frame, Annie sings to a handheld camera as she wanders throughout her house, eventually setting the camera down and zooming out to reveal her full band, joining them briefly, mid-flight at the track’s cathartic release.
Starting from the rumble of a single, roiling guitar line, “Again” is lush and sumptuous, feeling as though you’re being slowly immersed into the deepest part of the ocean, with its swirling layers of effects-laden instrumentation and multi-tracked vocals overtaking as it sweeps in one long push towards its climactic finish. The vivid, glitching visuals accompanying the track were created by Hamilton, building on footage and photographs taken by Jordan Kirk.
On “Again,” Hamilton shares: “This is the first song I worked on with Jake Webb (Methyl Ethel). I had written the first half of it and recorded a demo but it felt flat and I couldn’t figure out what to do with it, so I sent it to him and he took it away to add his magic. He rearranged it and added some amazing production and sent it back – it had this big, long instrumental section at the end and on my first listen I realised it could be the home for this verse that I had written back in 2019 that I had never figured out what to do with. I sat down and recorded the end vocals and that was that!”
Obsessed with memory, dream worlds, fantasies and parallel realities, the future is here but it feels kinda like the past is a transportive, mystical journey that traces the contours of a balmy, high summer night, from the muggy, red-dirt afternoons that give way to electric blue twilights, through the navy-black nights sporadically, breath-takingly lit up by the whip of treacherous forked lightning, dissolving into warm, fuzzy mornings that sit perched on the window-sill of reality, another day. Sonically and thematically, the future is here but it feels kinda like the past lives in these listless hours of liminal consciousness, a self-contained, through-the-looking-glass universe where time becomes elastic, memories blur imperceptibly into one another and seeds of deep emotional truth come to you in surreal, warped imagery.
Synthetic yet raw, polished yet organic, digital yet gritty, Annie Hamilton’s debut studio full-length hangs suspended in time, cast between a past that is irrecoverable and a future that is seemingly never arriving. Maybe this promised future will never arrive, but, then again, maybe we don’t want it to anyway – maybe we want something else. Maybe, as so many did throughout the pandemic, we would rather turn backwards towards nostalgia, elsewhere towards escapism.
“It’s about the passing of time,” explains Hamilton, “how sometimes it flies by and sometimes it drags on forever and we’re always looking ahead wanting something more or wallowing in nostalgia, stuck in a past that probably wasn’t as good at the time as we remember it… the sense that the grass is always greener. The sense that there is never enough time to do everything that we want to do, or the feeling that we should have done more with the time that has already passed.”
Photo Courtesy: Jordan Kirk (XingerXanger)