An alumni of the all-important news section of the blog, the alternative folk singer-songwriter known as Anna Westin, who currently spends her time based between London, England and the Canadian East Coast, continues to invite you on a journey that is both endearing and engrossing as she gears up to finally release ‘LEV‘ – her newest solo studio album – on March 25th.
Partially inspired by a beautiful and tender journey that encompasses a diverse range of literature, philosophy and the deep core of Westin’s recent mental state regarding her work as the director of The JAM Network UK – an anti-trafficking initiative – with the rich nine-track listing of the project. The new LP explores Westin’s Swedish-Canadian identity with a poignant spirit, making for one continuous listen that transports you to artistic and picture-esque locations adorned with a vibrant, yet lush, energy. Named after the Hebrew word for ‘Heart’ – Westin’s new work springs to life directly from that place, while her soundscapes weave through themes of mortality and humanity, scored by a Swedish/Jewish/Irish folk, classical, contemporary and nature sounds fusion.
To provide more backstory, ‘LEV’ was produced by Ellie and Imogen Mason (Voka Gentle, Mara Simpson), and it was mixed by Marcus Hamblett (The Staves, This Is The Kit, Villagers). Joining Weston as talented feature artists include Rob Pemberton (Willie Nelson, Rachel Dadd), Helen Whitaker (The Leisure Society, Colin Currie Group), Edwin Ireland (Georgia Van Etten) and more. It was also mastered by Harris Newman, completing a talented team.
Of the album, which includes the previously released single ‘Bright Burning Mess’, Westin says, “A lot of the songs are about mortality, and this sense of transcendence that collides with the everyday mundane. This is particularly influenced by my work with Jewish philosopher Lévinas and French philosopher Ricœur“, in a press statement.
‘Incense Ascending’ – the new single that you can stream above – warms you up for the full-length outing while simultaneously functioning as a peaceful and serene preview of the album. Her voice has a shimmering quality that complements the clean guitar work, while the emphasis on her wide-eyed vocals is backed up by an ethereal score of gently haunting Piano melodies, introducing a deep and looming backdrop that supports Westin’s lyrical pleas to find comfort and bring contentment to a deep, emotional situation. There are gentle nature samples and an airy string section buried in here too that decorate the soundscape with light details that feel more profound, and it simply lures you into her voice due to their hypnotic nature.
Promising to maintain a rich, sometimes traditional Folk sound while also inviting listeners to take a thorough journey through Westin’s whole host of creative influences, ‘LEV’ is shaping up to be a record which really means something to the rest of the world. Incorporating experiences like her work in anti-human trafficking charities and her lecturing in Philosophy after she earned a PhD, and her travels to synthesize the trauma and beauty of Israel and Palestine, we here at Rhythm Radar cannot wait for the new album to leave its mark on a wide range of communities around the globe as an experience that is bursting with intimacy, influences and exciting sounds.
Words by Jacob Braybrooke
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