Berlin based violist, violinist and singer-songwriter Marla Hansen may not be a household name but chances are most people have already heard some of her work in some form. She has credits as a performing and recording musician on various albums and has worked with everyone from Sufjan Stevens, The National and Jens Lekman to Mocky, Oneida, Jay-Z, and Alice and Ravi Coltrane among many others.
Hansen has announced the release of Salt, her second album following 2020’s Dust. Set for release on March 15th through Karaoke Kalk, Salt is a wonderful collision of acoustic instruments such as viola, violin, piano and guitar with electronics. “I started to explore synthesizers and electronic production myself,” she comments. “I am proud that I accomplished many of the electronic elements of the new album by myself, and otherwise laid the groundwork for the final electronic structures through my own experiments. I always wanted to record a ‘big’ record, one that has a lot of power and sound, and this one is ‘bigger’ than anything I have done so far.”
Salt saw Hansen enlist the help of like-minded musicians and friends including singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist DM Stith, producer and composer Simon Goff, Alice Dixon (Oriel Quartett) on cello, Kyle Resnick (The National, Beirut) on trumpet, Benjamin Lanz (The National, Beirut) on trombone and tuba, Miles Perkin on bass and The Notwist’s drummer Andi Haberl who “crafted perfect drum and percussion parts to move the songs wherever they needed to go, either into their driving grooves, slow-build explosions or gentle swells of feeling”, as Hansen puts it herself. Simon Goff has also taken on production and engineering duties.
Speaking on the themes behind the album, Hansen says:
“The themes revolve around a feeling of being trapped. Having to stay inside during the pandemic, with all the silence and stillness coming with it. Simultaneously, I was caught up in a professional situation that was not working for me, yet it required a lot of energy and time. I was thinking a lot about how to break old habits and patterns. Patterns in my life, patterns I saw my friends and loved-ones stuck in. There are a lot of ways that people can be trapped, and breaking out of that requires a lot of courage and energy – on all levels. The title ‘Salt’ seemed to fit, ocean themes showed up naturally in some of the songs, and I thought often about the quote: ‘The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.’ Maybe I was just dreaming of the ocean, since it was inaccessible for the first time! But I wanted a cure for this feeling of being trapped, in a time of uncertainty and anxiety, salt as a remedy seemed to have some truth in it: sweat, tears or the sea.”
First single and opening track ‘Chains’, brimming with absolute magic, serves as an exhilarating taste of what she’ll be throwing at us. Here it is.