Marla Hansen – Salt | Karaoke Kalk 132
Download via Bandcamp
Karaoke Kalk 132
shipping out on or around March 15, 2024
Product Notes Vinyl:
- Edition Of 300
- 140g Black Vinyl
- Spined Sleeve 3mm, 4-colored
- Black Inner Sleeve
*All orders include an instant download of the album
Violist, violinist and singer-songwriter Marla Hansen returns to Karaoke Kalk with “Salt”, her second full-length album to date. Building upon the sonic palette the Berlin-based musician established with her debut “Dust” in 2020, “Salt” takes the delicate mixture of acoustic instruments such as viola, violin, piano and guitar combined with subtle electronics to the next level. The new album is both a remarkable departure and at the same time sheds a new yet reassuring light on Hansen’s work and creativity. “Salt” features numerous collaborations with like-minded musicians and friends, e. g. producer and composer Simon Goff, The Notwist’s drummer Andi Haberl and the renowned artist DM Stith.
The “Dust” has settled.
After having recorded her solo debut of that name, in 2020 the world came to a grinding halt, leaving Marla Hansen left to her own devices in her adopted home of Berlin. For Hansen, who previously had lent her talent to many creative minds such as The National, Sufjan Stevens, The Hidden Cameras, Jay-Z and Ravi Coltrane, the collaborative aspect of writing and producing music had always played a crucial part in finding her own path as a solo artist.
“I started to explore synthesizers and electronic production myself,” she remembers of the time when meeting other musicians in person was out of the question. “I am proud that I accomplished many of the electronic elements of the new album by myself, and otherwise laid the groundwork for the final electronic structures through my own experiments. I always wanted to record a ‘big’ record, one that has a lot of power and sound, and this one is ‘bigger’ than anything I have done so far.”
“Salt” is big, indeed. The opener “Chains” is driven by a gliding bass line, bobbing 808 snares, deep chords and a mesmerizing chorus doubled by luscious strings, marking the beginning of a new chapter in her creative journey. A stark statement, both musically and lyrically. Meanwhile, the title track of the album is an almost abstract sounding ambient miniature, sketch-like, dark and haunting, showcasing Hansen’s voice in a shy, brittle and fragile state. If This Mortal Coil/The Hope Blister were ever to record another album, these songs should be high up on the shortlist of tunes to pick. “The One Time” – a duet with Hansen’s long-time friend DM Stith – gently meanders between a Philip Glass-inspired piece for chamber orchestra and a vocal ensemble performing on Top Of The Pops. In this range of styles and approaches, Hansen’s vision is more present than ever.
For refining and finishing the songs, Hansen turned to Simon Goff, who produced the album and engineered much of the recording, merging Hansen’s newly-found songwriting approach with the artistic delicacy which made her debut album an exceptional piece of work. Features include among others: Alice Dixon (Oriel Quartett) on cello, Kyle Resnick (The National, Beirut) on trumpet, Benjamin Lanz (The National, Beirut) on trombone and tuba, and Miles Perkin on bass. And then there is The Notwist’s Andi Haberl, who “crafted perfect drum and percussion parts to move the songs wherever they needed to go, either into their driving grooves, slow-build explosions or gentle swells of feeling.”
But what are songs actually about? “The themes revolve around a feeling of being trapped. Having to stay inside during the pandemic, with all the silence and stillness coming with it. Simultaneously, I was caught up in a professional situation that was not working for me, yet it required a lot of energy and time. I was thinking a lot about how to break old habits and patterns. Patterns in my life, patterns I saw my friends and loved-ones stuck in. There are a lot of ways that people can be trapped, and breaking out of that requires a lot of courage and energy – on all levels. The title ‘Salt’ seemed to fit, ocean themes showed up naturally in some of the songs, and I thought often about the quote: ‘The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.’ Maybe I was just dreaming of the ocean, since it was inaccessible for the first time! But I wanted a cure for this feeling of being trapped, in a time of uncertainty and anxiety, salt as a remedy seemed to have some truth in it: sweat, tears or the sea.”
Perseverance and the urge for freedom prevailed in the end. “Salt” is a bold artistic achievement, with songs as big as the biggest waves imaginable. With melodies as alluring as the most comfortable breezes. Perfect from start to finish.