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More Info:Nine years after Lookaftering, her last album of new material, legendary British singer-songwriter Vashti Bunyan returns with a breathtaking new LP. Recorded largely in her home studio, Heartleap is a unique and entrancing collection of ten songs comprising what Vashti is adamant will be her final album.
Vashti s third album follows her rediscovery after thirty years in the wilderness, with the 2000 re-release of Just Another Diamond Day and the critical success of 2005 s Lookaftering. Heartleap has a classic sound and is the first album where she herself has been in control of the whole process, from writing and arranging to playing and recording. Crafted predominantly from a studio setup in her Edinburgh home, the record was slowly pieced together, and reveals an artist at her peak, capturing her songs within fluid settings that masterfully marry content and form. Both Just Another Diamond Day and Lookaftering saw Vashti s songs arranged and framed by others. Joe Boyd s production and Robert Kirby s arranging of the former remain timelessly classy, while Max Richter s bold production of the latter was enhanced by contributions from a raft of supporting artists (including Joanna Newsom, Devendra Banhart, Vetiver and Adem), all eagerly adding their colors. Vashti is justly proud of Lookaftering, but Heartleap is an equally strong and even more personal record, standing solely on the merits and patient endeavor of its author rather than being buoyed by and filtered through the cachet and collaborative creativity of a powerful supporting cast. Recording her vocals when no one else was around to overhear freed Vashti up to deliver more confident performances. At the same time, the absence of studio deadlines enabled her to work slowly and lovingly in her own time, weaving together tracks out of numerous takes. Predominantly guitar or piano led, with additional instrumentation building throughout, the songs have no underpinning bassline or percussion, giving each instrument and voice the chance to pace itself. It took in total seven years to put together these ten songs. The first was written in 2007, the last just two months before mastering. A hiatus in recording came with the untimely passing of Robert Kirby in 2009. Robert had arranged three songs on Just Another Diamond Day and the pair had just reconnected and planned to work on new arrangements together just weeks before he died. It would be another two years before Vashti took the decision that she must arrange the music herself, with Robert always in mind. The subsequent three years saw her gradually picking the thread back up and working with renewed purpose. Slowly more songs found their way out of her. Seven became ten. The right final mix frustratingly eluded her until the album magically came together in a week in May 2014 when it was balanced and mastered beautifully. Like the deer on the cover painting, Heartleap moves gracefully, enchantingly. Overcoming adversity through sheer willpower, its very existence is a dazzling triumph.