2020 will end on a high with the freshly announced collaborative album that pairs two of our favourite musicians: marvelous composer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Daniel O’Sullivan and wonderful and inimitable multi-instrumentalist and improviser Richard Youngs. Entitled Twelve of Hearts, the upcoming album marks their first collaboration and was in the works for several months, with O’Sullivan based in London and Youngs based in Glasgow. The two experimental songwriters followed specific rules to compose a cycle of 12 songs based on one chord progression, that came to be called Twelve of Hearts. As Youngs pointed out, “Each song has four chords. No more. No less. They cycle without variation. They never change key“. O’Sullivan had this to say about it:
“The writing process had a geometric quality. Not too much fuss. Just a simple adherence to this method. It’s basically a grid-like structure – concrete pillars in square formation, consonant and unbending and always in a supporting role to these liquified poems and suspended songs. It’s hard and soft at the same time.”
Youngs also stated:
“We did all of the album remotely. It started when Daniel sent me a sprawling improvisation and there was a short section crying out for these four chords. Before we could help ourselves, we had stumbled on the formula – something that seemed to take us from song to song. The same four chords, harmony vocals, some ornamentation, and a lead vocal. We became really focused on it – anything that deviated got rejected. Finding variation in the predictability became quite surprising. I think it shifted some of my ideas on songwriting.”
Twelve of Hearts is set for release on December 1st through O Genesis Recordings but we can already hear the first celestial single, ‘Don’t Hang with Angels’. It comes with an accompanying video directed by Harry Miller.