The Little Unsaid Selected Works CD Album digi pack with booklet
by The Little Unsaid
£8.90 / On Sale
PRE SELL SHIPS MARCH 2018
CD Album with Booklet in digipack
Forming a four piece band to record 2017’s acclaimed Imagined Hymns and Chaingang Mantras album, Elliott invited Radiohead / Johnny Greenwood producer Graeme Stewart to mix and the band’s career has been rapidly building momentum ever since. The Little Unsaid have since toured in Europe and won the Steve Reid InNOVAtion Award for boundary pushing music which brought with it mentoring sessions with Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) and their first national radio plays.
Tom Rose has helped compile this new album “Selected Works”, a career-to-date primer, a document of songs and recordings that might otherwise have been lost or overlooked.
The Little Unsaid are:
John Elliott – Vocals, Keys, Guitar, Programming
Tim Heymerdinger – Drums, Percussion, FX, Vocals
Mariya Brachkova – Bass, Moog, Vocals
Alison D’Souza– Viola, FX
About the songs.
Day is Golden
Day is Golden came about from my own experience of mental illness. Like many people, I had some first hand experience of the suffering it can cause for the afflicted and their loved ones, and it completely floored me for a long time. When I finally felt I had a bit of perspective on it all much much later, I wanted to express it as simply as I could, so the song took on this very familiar sounding, almost gospel-like melody. It was one of those songs that I didn’t play anyone for a long time, kept it close to my chest, it was just mine for a while. Once I felt comfortable playing it live it found a life of its own.
Why I Came Here
I was working with the Southfields String Quartet and wanted to write something for them that might be out of their comfort zone. I’d seen a performance of Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima by the Polish composer Krzysztof Pendercki, in which the string players hit their instruments in different ways to create uncomfortable pulsing sounds and thunderous rhythms. Happily thieving these ideas for Why I Came Here, I created a bunch of symbols as instructions for different ways the quartet could strike, slap and abuse their instruments. Splitting the rhythms between them created this strange, slightly off-kilter beat for the track, which worked perfectly to create a feeling of unease. I like the idea of hiding something mildly sinister in what’s quite a basic, sweet melody; a song that gets under your skin but kind of festers there in an unsettling way you can’t quite pin down.
Symptomatic came out of my experience of PTSD. The song is partly about accepting that state when you realise ‘ok, I’m not quite out of the woods just yet, I’ve got some healing to do still’ and all the creepy crawlies in the brain come back out of the woodwork squealing ‘we’re still here! Let’s trash the joint.’ It’s also about being seen by someone you love whilst you’re in that state of inexplicable anguish and that person accepting you this way.
Sometimes you have to remind yourself that ultimately you are as alive as you allow yourself to be from one moment to the next. Once you tap into that, you fly. This song is about celebrating the release it gives you to live every moment, fully present, to its fullest. It shamelessly escalates into an anthemic rock climax for that reason, to celebrate that feeling, leg up on the monitor, guitar wind-milling and all!
In 2013 I was living in the Isle of Dogs, a fascinating part of London where all the old, redundant docks lay amidst the high rises and glistening lights of modern commerce. It was kind of haunting to see these skeletal river-side cranes that once hauled the freight shipments up out of boats, bringing London its lifeblood. It got me thinking about the people left behind, the dock workers whose world suddenly vanished when the docks closed. Then a whole new world rose up out of the ground around them and split these communities. They exhibit artwork at the Docklands Museum that was made in protest to the spreading footprint of capitalism as big businesses bought up the wasteland on the Isle of Dogs and started building skyscrapers. One piece in particular stuck in my mind: a large billboard image of money piles stacked up like skyscrapers and growing so much they’re pushing small human figures off a cliff, with a caption reading ‘Big money is moving in; don’t let it push local people out.’
This song is about reawakening from trauma, through love, time, healing, and feeling the imagination – for better or worse – taking hold of you again.
Can We Hear It?
Writing and arranging with electronics you occasionally get these happy accidents, and ideas you would never normally have start to emerge. I recorded some kids singing in a local school I was teaching music at and was just killing time slicing up individual words and syllables to see what would happen. Then I started to form this glitchy 7/4 beat and an ever-evolving synth sequence around it that never repeats itself and just constantly morphs in subtle ways each time. It’s an unusual track and I love playing it with the band live. It has an uplifting energy each time we perform it.
I wrote this whilst living in a freezing cold warehouse studio in East London. I was straddling a plug-in radiator to keep warm. There were mice scuttling around my feet. The song originally started as a list of instructions for myself and turned into a set of long-winded mantras about how to rebuild my life in a compassionate, creative and patient way. The repeated chorus section Mariya sings is a nod to Orpheus turning round to see Eurydice on their journey back from the underworld and seeing her get sucked back into the abyss.
Where There’s Smoke
Singing this transports me back to a smoke-filled kitchen in the small hours, empty beer cans and a battered heart laid out on the table. It’s about a feeling of helplessness, wanting to help someone you care about through a very dark time but knowing the task is bigger than the both of you when the darkness goes that deep. I wrote this to try dig some comfort and hope out of that helplessness.
The Plunge was written at a time when I was working long days in a job I didn’t feel I belonged in, and working away on music long into the nights. The pace was relentless, it felt like there wasn’t a moment to hop off and take a breath or see where I was at, life just rushing by in a blur. This song communicates that feeling of disconnect when you’re caught up in a life that doesn’t seem to be your own. ‘The plunge’ in this case is the moment you have to summon up the courage for, to hit the brakes on everything and get on whatever path you’re supposed to be on. I think the song exists in the moments of panic just before that plunge is taken, as you teeter on the edge of the high-dive and try to talk yourself into jumping.
This song started in a dream. A wintery landscape, I was alone in a blizzard, but I could see a shadowy figure from my past beckoning me. That image haunted me and permeated this love song I was already writing. That’s typical of The Little Unsaid really, sitting down to try write a positive love song and all the ghosts come along to stick their bloody fingers in and ruin it.
Through the Fields
I wrote this after leaving the Glastonbury Festival site in the early hours of Monday morning, hoping to get out while everyone was still revelling. Following a long weekend of intoxicating, mind-bending adventures through music, art and performance, I suddenly found myself soberly carrying my guitar, tent and a tonne of camping gear across acres of fields in what felt like a warzone. I stood from the raised edge of the site looking out on the pounding, swirling chaos of the festival in full swing, drunken zombies tottering their way around me through smoke and light. It was beautiful and also frightening and other-worldly.
Let Desire Back In
Part of the healing process when you go through a serious trauma of some kind is letting yourself feel desire again. It’s an immense feeling of awakening to let yourself feel those things again, and for me it played a huge part in the healing process.
In This House
In This House is about an insomniac’s night of paranoia, hallucination and contradictory fear of both the world outside and what might happen if you stay inside alone with your thoughts. It’s about being utterly frightened at the thought of falling asleep in that state because you know you will wake up in the same spot, with no one around, having to deal with the hangover from a night of brain-twisting mayhem alone. Merry Christmas.
Whilst touring and travelling in 2013, I became obsessed with The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot and felt a strange kinship with the character of the Fisher King; a sick, emaciated man suffering from a deep wound that caused both his land and his soul to wither and turn barren. I was awaiting my magic-holy-grail-fix to sort all my problems out. This song trudges through this desolate landscape at a weary pace and I borrowed Eliot’s repeated use of the Hindu call for compassion ‘Dayadhvam’ for the choruses. It’s a call for compassion and understanding, both from the self and the world around us.