Orlando Weeks recently launched his solo career with ‘Safe In Sound’, a track that was A-listed at BBC 6 Music and inspired comparisons with the likes of The Blue Nile and Talk Talk. Now he can confirm details of his debut album A Quickening, which will be released on June 12th via Play It Again Sam.
As the birth of Orlando Weeks’ son drew near, he wanted to try to make sense of an experience that is both ordinary and extraordinary at the same time. The result is A Quickening, an album that tells the story from the point of view of a prospective father-to-be, a figure both vital to the story and yet also somewhat removed, in awe of what the mother goes through and often helpless to do anything about it.
'I was trying to find a course through something that happens all the time, but still feels exceptional,' Weeks says.
A baby is born every minute, and yet the experience of becoming a parent - and the way it promises to change your life - is unprecedented.
Weeks’ voice shimmers as it expresses feelings of love, fear and wonder that are overwhelming but still delicate. Drums trip, woodwind and brass can be heard, piano lines run in and out, vocals layer and guitars are few and far between. This is not the indie rock and roll that some may have predicted. You might think of Talk Talk. You might think of Robert Wyatt. You might think of Radiohead or Bon Iver. You might think of the wonder of Kate Bush. You might think of Lambchop’s late-career electronic turn, replacing, in that case, Kurt Wagner’s Nashville-inflected fragments with Orlando’s chiming and pure delivery, served up by way of South London.
Many of those influences surge and flourish throughout the new single ‘Blood Sugar’. A mesmeric, all-enveloping layer of sound highlighted by choral vocal harmonies. The track includes the line 'gone the bell that rung forever… at least as long as I can remember', a reference to Big Ben which was under repair and had stopped chiming at the time of his son’s birth, Weeks commented; ‘’I couldn’t work out if its silence was a good omen or a bad one.’’ Stranger than that, for much of their time at the hospital, Weeks and his partner found themselves in the very same room he was born in.
A Quickening was created with the help of Weeks’ old friend Nic Nell, who produced, engineered and mixed the album. The pair collaborated on the music that accompanied Weeks’ 2012 graphic novel, ‘Young Colossus’. Nell also runs the label Algebra Records and makes music under the name Casually Here. The album also highlights select performances from members of Weeks’ live band: Caruso (drums on ‘Blame Or Love Or Nothing’ and ‘All The Things’), Sami El-Enany (piano on ‘Takes A Village’ and ‘Summer Clothes’), and Will Petherbridge (the freewheeling solo on ‘St Thomas’’).
In addition to its digital and streaming releases, it will also be available on three physical formats: heavyweight vinyl, CD packaged with a poster, and a limited edition clear deluxe vinyl which will include a signed and hand-finished print. The deluxe vinyl will only be available via Orlando Weeks’ Music Glue store and in select UK independent record stores.