“Figures in the Landscape” is the latest single to be taken from musician-writer-DJ Ben Watt’s upcoming fourth solo LP, Storm Damage, out on January 31, 2020. It follows the recent singles “Balanced on a Wire,” described by BlackBook as “one of the most visceral pieces of music he’s ever recorded” and premiered on Lauren Laverne’s BBC 6 Music show, and “Irene” featuring Low’s Alan Sparhawk.
The single is accompanied by a powerful half-lit performance video directed by photographer-film-maker Edward Bishop, and shot at RAK Studios in London, where the album was recorded in April 2019.
“It’s a call to action in response to feelings of powerlessness,” says Watt of the song. “I wrote it in a period of personal crisis and political upheaval. The random nature of both can leave you feeling insignificant, lacking agency in the world, but in the end I guess you have a simple choice: to get up and celebrate what you have, or get out and take issue with it.”
The production – a contemporary hybrid blend of Watt’s new “future-retro trio” (upright piano, double bass, acoustic-electronic drums), pulsing vocoder and impressionistic samples – sees the song open on a “stuck” piano hook before breaking free under cascading synths and Watt’s urgent vocal.
Storm Damage completes a compelling trilogy of albums since Watt’s late-flowering return to solo songwriting and singing six years ago after ten years as an acclaimed DJ-remixer-label boss with Buzzin’ Fly and seventeen in multi-million-selling duo, Everything But The Girl with Tracey Thorn. 2014’s acclaimed “comeback” album, Hendrawon Best Second Album at the AIM Awards, UK. It was followed by Fever Dream in 2016, which caused The Guardian to comment, “In his early fifties Watt in making some of the best music of his career.”
Watt also adds an extra date to his upcoming North American tour. He plays Club Helsinki in Hudson, NY on Saturday April 4. Full itinerary below.
3/31: Washington, D.C. – Union Stage
4/2: New York, NY – Le Poisson Rouge
4/3: Boston, MA – City Winery
4/4: Hudson, NY – Club Helsinki
4/5: Toronto, ON – Rivoli
4/7: Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark
4/8: Indianapolis, IN – Lo-Fi Lounge
4/9: Evanston, IL – Space
4/10: Milwaukee, WI – The Back Room at Colectivo
4/11: Minneapolis, MN – The Dakota
4/14: Seattle, WA – The Triple Door
4/15: Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
4/17: San Francisco, CA – The Chapel
4/18: Los Angeles, CA – Largo
Storm Damage Tracklist:
1) Balanced on a Wire
2) Summer Ghosts
3) Retreat to Find
4) Figures in the Landscape
5) Knife in the Drawer
7) Sunlight Follows the Night
9) You’ve Changed, I’ve Changed
10) Festival Song