Flora Hibberd was born in London in 1995, and has been living in Paris since she was eighteen. Her debut EP The Absentee, out on Clearlight Records was released in 2019 to critical acclaim (it was one of the best eps of 2019 according to us). In September 2020 she released her second EP, Archipelago Finnish grreart webzine One Chord To Another named Archipelago “EP of the Year 2020”. On 25 June, Flora released her first album, ‘Hold’.
What she says: “Hold was recorded DIY-style over the new year period in a country house in Sens, Burgundy, and mixed in a small apartment in Paris. It deals with intimacy and distance, love and longing, jubilation and desire”.
Bertrand Belin – Hypernuit
This song is so bizarre, beautiful but a bit disconcerting, with those enigmatic lyrics “il entoure de la maison/hypernuit/celui bien nommé la bête.” Bertrand Belin is one of my favourite songwriters, and I listen to the albums Hypernuit, Persona and Parcs on a pretty regular basis. Everyone I mention him to his immediately hooked when they listen.
Aldous Harding – Weight of the Planets
Aldous! She’s a dream. I chose this song for its production (by the legendary John Parish) as well as the songwriting: both have been a source of inspiration for my producer Viq and me. That sweet percussion, the simple brilliance of the piano solo: it’s a great song. But check out the whole album, too.
Melissa Laveaux – Nan Fon Bwa
This song is addictively beautiful. Melissa Laveaux’s voice and melody and the production, it’s perfection. And that bass line! It’s an arrangement of a piece by Haitian composer Frantz Casséus – you can also find a brilliant live video filmed by Radio Nova, and make sure to listen to the album it’s on: Radyo Siwèl. Very very good, you won’t want it to end.
J.E. Sunde – Risk
J.E. Sunde was one of my big discoveries of last year: his album 9 Songs About Love came out last November, and I’ve been listening to his stuff regularly ever since. At first I was going to choose the single ‘Love Gone To Seed,’ which also partly inspired my song ‘Deep Love is The River’ on the new album, but in the end the final song, ‘Risk,’ is my current favourite: sad but also somehow uplifting and tender. One of my favourite songwriters, and he’ll (fingers crossed) be touring Europe in autumn!
Fiona Apple – Under The Table
From Fiona Apple’s brilliant album ‘Fetch The Bolt Cutters’ that came out during the first confinement last year. It’s a great listen, this one is particularly good when you’ve got some pent up rage. Keep an ear out for the DIY percussion and, in one of the songs, her dogs barking in the background. I love the atmosphere of the whole thing.
Labi Siffre – Bless the Telephone
I’m kind of fascinated by short songs that feel as fully formed as this one. For me, songs like this are the hardest to write, or at least to write well. Another example would be Townes Van Zandt’s ‘I’ll Be There In The Morning’ – both have quite a simple premise but something elusive makes them feel bigger than that. And yet the whole song is over so quickly! A small and beautiful gem. Aside from that, the melodic shifts of Siffre’s song are really amazing.
Songs:Ohia – Riding With The Ghost
Jason Molina is another favourite songwriter of mine – he’s been a pretty constant source of inspiration for me since I first started listening to him in 2014. The album this song is on, ‘Magnolia Electric Co.’ (also the name of another formation of his band) is a masterpiece from start to finish, produced by Steve Albini, full of strange and sad and amazing songs, songs with weird mystical lyrics and repeated symbols that are almost like spells. He has a huge back catalogue to work through, as well as some collaborations (a favourite of mine is his album with Will Johnson, ‘Molina and Johnson.’)
Rina Sawayama – XS
This track is not at all similar to the music I make but, what can I say, I just love Rina! Her album ‘SAWAYAMA’ came out last year: it’s very 2000s, a bit pop, a bit metal, a bit dance, pretty intense. I love it.