Cleaned the Windows is the second album by Londen based folk singer Geri van Essen. It’s the follow-up to her pre-war American moody folk blues and gospel album A New Hiding Place, which she self-released in 2018. The ten new songs are more soulful and have matured into an even deeper melancholy. Sonically, she broadened her horizons by working together with Tiny Room Records chief (and musician/producer) Stefan Breuer, who helped arrange the album by adding instruments and polish up the homerecorded sessions by Van Essen.
Broken microphones, unavailable laptops with GarageBand and someone who spilt talcum powder on the piano (making it unfit for further use) didn’t stop Van Essen to record her guitar, vocals and piano parts by herself in her apartment. Breuer added drums, bass, guitar and a wide range of keys, while her London friends contributed with violin, clarinet, euphonium, electric guitar and trumpet. The traditional folk songs are injected with soul, jangle pop and slowcore, creating a palette with associations as diverse as Portishead, Camera Obscura and Swamp Dogg, alongside the more obvious line of tradition that we have come to know through artists like Aldous Harding and Sibylle Baier.
Van Essen: “The main themes of the album are: loneliness and trying to connect to others. I don’t mean the type of loneliness where you have too few people in your life or not enough activities to fulfil you. It’s the type of situations where words and meaning are not coming across. You realise you’re worlds apart from someone else. The album moves, by the order of the songs, from a chaotic anticipation of loss, through grief, to some kind of strength of mind.”
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