An underground folk icon with a cult-like following, and a songwriting ability that transcends borders, Rachel Sermani is an artist who seems to have really found her footings within her new works. With a style that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Southern Gothic film, the vocals of Sermani drift like shadows across twilight streets.
Following the release of her latest tracks, Swallow Me and Travelled, we caught up with the Scot to see who contributes to make up her creative surroundings. Here are her Sound & Vision picks:
Three Favourite Albums:
Ani Choying Drolma – Inner Peace 2
This singer and her music used to be the main atmosphere to the cafe I used to work in at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Scotland. I can’t really stand the spiritual synthesiser stuff. A lot of what got played in the cafe that was sort of ‘spiritual’ or ‘new-age’ drove me loopy before I learnt to find ways to appreciate it. But this woman taught me so much about the voice. She uses it in the most amazing ways. I love the slow, controlled vibrato, the turns of melody, the way she moves sound about in her mouth, to the back of the throat, behind the nose, under the tongue…yeah. Skillful stuff.
Yasmin Williams – Urban Driftwood
I saw Sam Amidon recommending this album. I have adored everything he has ever publicly recommended. When I need to find something fresh and good to listen to, I often check his feed to see what he’s been listening to. This was such a perfect discovery. She is incredible. I love the flowing movement of it all. It fills me with sunshine and a little bit of some sort of nostalgia.
Iva Bittová – Iva Bittová
I love anything this woman does. But I like this album very much. I like how it is strange and bird-like. Like a twilight moment. The tracks are short and eerie. It feels like the pieces are all just unfurling from some dark forest ground all on their own accord, feeling their way. I don’t know what her process was for making this album. But it feels to me like a very liberated improvisation. She oozes musicality and confidence.
It just fills me with awe. The music goes right under my skin. The images are bewilderingly beautiful. It’s like a moving meditation. It provides the widest scope of perspective…makes me feel like I’ve lived and died many times. Last time I watched it was rolling about on the floor the day I gave birth, three years ago. I should watch it again. About time.
The Word for World is Forest – Ursula K Le Guin
The last good fiction book I read was called The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K Le Guin. It was utterly brilliant and both took me to a place of despair, but also determination and hope for the future of our own world. I decided to go with what I read last because choosing a favourite book is too difficult… if I could maybe add another in here though… the last last book I read: Bluets by Maggie Nelson. This book was also INCREDIBLE and helped me in a moment of grief… (sorry, I know that’s two)!
A song that is important to me:
Adrianne Lenker – My Angel
Her whole album songs is so special and instills such a sense of creativity in me. But this song holds a particularly special place for me as it is what my daughter always requests when she’s going to bed. We put it on, read a story on the sofa, then make our way to her bed from there; ‘my angel’ lulling along. I love that it has become part of our routine and I think puts us both into a space where we feel safe and loved.
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