There are so many releases right now that I almost missed this one. I’m glad I didn’t because it’s lovely.
I don’t know if Hannah Schneider is actually Danish but she’s Copenhagen-based and that’s more than good enough for me.
She signed to Sony Music in 2009 and subsequently released two full-length albums – a self-titled debut in 2009 and 2012’s ‘Me vs. I’. In 2014, her third album ‘Red Lines’ was released.
She has been nominated for several music prizes in Denmark, in which she has established herself as one of the ‘strong voices’, her music being a regular feature on radio as well as being used in films and on TV.
Since 2016, Hannah has been one half of the electronic duo AyOwA and the other half, producer Nicolai Kornerup, collaborated with her on ‘Mirror Sphere’, which is the second single from her forthcoming album ‘Ocean Letters.’
The song, like so many others, was written in the middle of lockdown and she says her feeling that it represented ‘the end of it all’ prompted her to think instead about the beginning if it all, the primordial soup, amoebas swimming ashore, eventually to become ‘us’, and what have you.
Now, being a Nightwish fan that immediately won me over as it brought to mind the video images the Finns use for ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ song in concert, and which fit Hannah’s own visual metaphors exactly.
And the release of this track now is rather poignant in its own way as we’re really facing ‘the end of it all’, or at least that’s what the meeja would have you believe.
And the song is – as indeed the entire album – inspired by the book Havbrevene (The Sea Letters) by Siri Ranva Hjelm Jacobsen, a prose poem in which nature comes alive as the forces of nature, namely the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, become protagonists. But we won’t go there as that’s all getting a little too deep for a Saturday night, and the pub is calling.
Having experienced an epiphany during the lockdown, she returned whence she came, to the piano, from where she could mix its acoustic sound, and that of the guitar, with electronic instrumentation into ambient pop, with production values reduces accordingly.
It all comes together perfectly, the electronic, synthesised part evoking the sensation that it’s been recorded 100 metres below the Atlantic in a bathysphere, with the incessant beat reminding you that there’s only so much time left before the air runs out. But don’t come up too quickly or you’ll get the bends. You’re half expecting Jacques Cousteau to swim past.
Meanwhile, her luscious vocal is soporific in the nicest way. When she sings “go to sleep with an empty mind, it’s been a long day, it’s been a painful time” you could do just that.
It’s ideal for a long haul flight when your time zones are all screwed up and just can’t nod off.
This is alternative pop at its very best and I’m sure her songs would suit the Outlaw Ocean Project of maritime – related songs.
Moreover, I’m intrigued to read that her live performances incorporate samples, loops, and all kinds of intriguing instrumentation. Hopefully we’ll have an opportunity to see her in the UK before too long.
‘Mirror Sphere’ was released on February 25th on Midnight Confessions.
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