The Little Unsaid was stewed up in the badlands of West Yorkshire by multi-instrumentalist, producer, poet and songwriter John Elliott. After beginning as a solo project, The Little Unsaid has evolved into a growing community of touring musicians and producers blending folk, electronica, orchestral music and a meticulous songwriting craft with John’s haunting, androgynous vocals.
Following on the heels of two well-received, crowd-funded albums, his third, Fisher King, is the result of traumatic personal crisis, reflected in the music’s genre-hopping complexity, lyrical honesty and moments of cathartic release. It was recorded over four weeks in a London basement, in the middle of Highgate Cemetery, in the steeple of a crumbling Islington church, and on a tiny island in the middle of the Celtic Sea.
The album was mixed by Graeme Stewart, long-time Radiohead engineer and producer of Jonny Greenwood’s solo work, which has included producing and mixing the music for Hollywood movies such as There Will Be Blood andThe Master.
The songs on Fisher King are part-inspired by books that John became obsessed with during his self-imposed isolation in the hills of West Yorkshire in Winter 2014. These include Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, Dante’s Inferno, The Death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave, andThe Waste Land by T.S. Eliot (a poem from which the album title was taken). The tone of these literary works correlated with John’s own explorations of the destructive nature of human desire and the loss of faith in the face of catastrophe, which has bled its way into all of the songs on the album.
The lead single ‘Can We Hear It ?’ was selected by Catherine Cunning Coco Media & Artist Management and Mark Gardener OX-4-Sound, frontman of legendary Oxford band Ride, who also mixed the single during breaks from their recent world tour.
The song’s nursery-rhyme style iterations mourn the loss of childhood innocence, over a sliced-up sample of primary school children singing one of John’s older songs (this sample was recorded during his time working in a primary school in East London). This childlike mantra loops throughout the song over a playful electronic beat as sweeping strings and a twisted Mariachi brass section rise out of the nostalgic melancholy into a celebratory climax.
For the third time, John successfully enlisted the help of a dedicated and growing fan base to fund the making of the album. Via crowd-funding platform Pledge Music, fans were offered pre-orders as well as limited edition artwork, personalized songs, acoustic albums and private concerts, to crowd-fund the recording, mixing and mastering of the album. A percentage of the funds raised is to be donated to UK charity Youth Music, which provides young people who are experiencing challenging circumstances with opportunities to make and be educated in music.
After appearing at major festivals including Glastonbury this summer, The Little Unsaid is now preparing for a UK and European full-band tour to launch the single and perform tracks from the new album. Several of these shows will feature special performances with regular collaborators the Southfield String Quartet, who perform John’s string arrangements on all of his releases.
‘This is an amazing act’
Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2
‘A giddying conflation of folk, electronica and lavish orchestration…one of the supposed [folk-electronica] genre’s grandest successes thus far’
Dots and Dashes
Fresh on the Net
Sept 26th – Exeter Phoenix Theatre, Exeter
Oct 8th – Bar 122, Huddersfield
Oct 9th – Oxford (venue TBC)
Oct 10th – Guildhall, Lichfield
Oct 11th – The Lexington, London
Oct 12th – Nantwich Words and Music Festival, Nantwich
Oct 13th – Ort Cafe, Birmingham
Oct 14th – Square Club, Bristol
Oct 15th – Guitar Bar, Nottingham
Oct 16th – Hackforth Hall, Bedale
Oct 17th – Carefully Planned Festival, Manchester (with Dear Pariah)
Oct 18th – Oporto, Leeds
Oct 27th – Barrensteiner Whiskybar, Grevenbroich (Sold Out)
Oct 28th – Barrensteiner Whiskybar, Grevenbroich
Oct 29th – Schloss-Bistro, Neuwied-Engers
Oct 30th – Loewen, Tuebingen
Nov 1st – Updown Bar, Luxembourg
Nov 2nd – Goldene Krone, Darmstadt
Nov 4th – Berlin (venue TBC)
Nov 7th – Freundlich und Kompetent, Hamburg
Nov 8th – House concert, Cologne
Nov 20th – Graves Gallery, Sheffield