Alexander Wolfe releases his rousing new single ‘Avalanche’ on February 1st through Dharma Records. Avalanche is featured in BBC 6 Music’s Tips for 2019 and is taken from his remarkable forthcoming album ‘Little Death’ which will be released on March 22nd. It’s a powerful and exhilarating return from the British singer-songwriter. Listen here:https://soundcloud.com/alexanderwolfemusic/avalanche/
Speaking about Avalanche Wolfe explains, “I initially wrote the bones of Avalanche with my friend Starling in a little studio in Hackney a couple of years ago. The instrumental was knocking around for a while and I loved how raw it was & I wanted to match that with really self-effacing, honest lyrics. It was written as a stream of consciousness when I was feeling out of control, It’s about trying to start afresh, it’s like confronting yourself and saying, you’re not doing good things, you’re not being kind to yourself. There’s some stuff about self-medication and mortality on there.” Going further to speak about the record he says; “There are a lot of really big themes on my new album, some of it feels a little uncomfortable talking about. Sex, death, religion etc.”
Avalanche marks Wolfe’s return after a short hiatus at the end of 2018 where he again performed the music for the critically acclaimed theatre piece ‘The Trench’ – a dark otherworldly fantasy set in the World War One trenches’- by theatre company Les Enfants Terribles, of which Wolfe was nominated for an Off West End award for the soundtrack which he also wrote. On it’s original release ‘The Trench’ took Edinburgh Festival by storm and then toured the UK a couple of years ago, before returning in October and November 2018 for a sold-out six-week run at the Southwark Playhouse.
‘Avalanche’ is a taster of what’s to come from Alexander Wolfe’s new album ‘Little Death’. Having released preview singles‘Your Love Is A Wheel’, ‘Breaking The Fall’, ‘Oslo’ and ‘I Can’t Get To Sleep’ over the course of the last 18 months, he’s picked support by way of Lauren Laverne and 6 Music Recommends, Radio X, Indie Shuffle, CLASH, The Line of Best Fit, Mahogany Blog, Record of the Day and All Things Go to name a few. ‘Little Death’ is a beautiful body of work that showcases Wolfe’s immense talent and one that almost never came to be.
With two acclaimed albums to his name, the release of his third – ‘From The Shallows’ – in 2015 was set to be a landmark moment in his career. A record he had poured countless hours of inspiration and emotion into. But then the music industry intervened. The label he was signed to had been embezzling money and was forced into liquidation. And with that, all those songs, all those beautiful moments, were eclipsed.
So he stepped back. “I honestly thought that I wasn’t going to make another record,” he says. He started working on other musical projects, writing and producing for other artists, as well as writing plays. Wolfe co-wrote Les Enfants Terriblesunderground hit show ‘The Trench’, he also scored ‘Alice’s Adventures Underground’, an Olivier nominated play that enjoyed two hugely acclaimed – and completely sold out – London runs.
“I needed to find a little space where there was nothing else, no distractions,” he explains. Taking up residence in a Hackney studio, Alexander Wolfe found that he simply couldn’t avoid songwriting – it was a part of him, as natural as breathing, and slowly a new album came into focus.
“Everything’s just a snapshot of who I am at the moment,” he says. “I’m not the same person as I was when I wrote the last record. I’m dealing with different stuff. Looking at the world in a different way. This record is definitely from the ashes of that. It feels like a re-birth, in a way.”
Sketched out in studios, hotel rooms, and on the road, Alexander Wolfe’s new record is the sound of a spirit unleashed, a daring return from a songwriter who has proved his worth over and over again. “I’m leaving mistakes in,” he states. “I’m making a record where the energy is what counts. Not the technicalities.”
More Velvet Underground than Nick Drake, the new material is acoustic with an art-rock edge, akin to those early Elliott Smith recordings, the first 2 Bon Iver albums, or even Swedish songwriter Jose Gonzales.
“This feels like making my first record,” he says. “It feels like I’m beginning again. The acoustic guitars were live takes in my bedroom, and we recorded drums set up in stairwells. It’s raw.” “You can get locked in a tunnel vision situation as a songwriter,”he explains. “If you’re not letting other influences in then it’s easy to get lost. I definitely feel that I’ve let go of some sort of self-imposed rules that I used to have.”
Simultaneously looking inward & outward, the new material is both deeply personal and bound by its context. “I’m appalled by what’s going on in the world right now,” he adds. “You can’t just write a record in a vacuum. All good art is a reflection of the time it’s made in.”
If anything, this new album is the sound of someone letting go – both of an unsettled past, and of their own preconceptions. “I’m a believer that a record almost makes itself, you just have to be there to let it do what it wants.”
Album track listing:
1. Little Death
3. Your Love Is A Wheel
6. Breaking The Fall
8. I Can’t Get To Sleep
9. Chin Up
11. I’ve Already Lost What I Never Had
‘Avalanche’ is released 1st Feb 2019 on Dharma Records
Alexander Wolfe’s album ‘Little Death’ is released March 22nd on Dharma Records