Broads drop their new video titled ‘Happisburgh’ with a little help from Milly Hirst. ‘Happisburgh’ gives an atmospheric blend of emotional instrumental and a cinematic blend of feeling and contentment. The video is more of an immersion and experience than just something to watch for four minutes. You come away with something. What you come away with depends on what type of person you are but what I came away with was a feeling of completion. That I’ve listened to a satisfying piece of music today and I’m all the better for it.
As of January 31, ‘Happisburgh’ will available everywhere digitally. The full ‘Ollust’ album will be released on Friday, March 6 on CD, 12″ vinyl and as a digital download, including on iTunes and Spotify. It can be pre-ordered via Bandcamp.
British electronic duo Broads have revealed their new track ‘Happisburgh (Single Edit)’. This is the first taste of the new 6-track ‘Ollust’ LP from the Norfolk-based duo, slated for release on January 31 via Humm Recordings. This spacious and uplifting ambient offering comes with B-side ‘Red Pits’.
First single ‘Happisburgh’ (pronounced ‘haze-bruh’) is built around ideas of a town disappearing into the sea – history being rendered in front of us, and future folk tales falling into place. The accompanying video, most fitting considering the thematic, was filmed and edited by Mark Jennings.
Since Mark Jennings joined James Ferguson as Broads in 2017, they have released 2 albums of mostly-electronic song experiments – 2018’s ‘Field Theory’ and 2019’s ‘A Small Box Over a Global Goal’ – both on their own imprint, Humm Recordings. A slow transition through genres and approaches has resulted in a broad back catalog – from the lo-fi guitar/RS-09 scratchings of 2013’s self-titled debut LP, through the tense atmospherics of ‘Hellas’ (2015) and ‘Everything Is Spinning…’ (2016) and the glittering electronics (with occasional guitars) of ‘Field Theory’ and ‘A Small Box…’.
For ‘Ollust’, Broads teamed up with long-time collaborator Milly Hirst to take another leap into the unknown – an almost-entirely analog album built around pianos, drones, field recordings, and wordless vocals.
Ollust (which means ‘Always’ in the local dialect) is something of a departure for the Norwich-based 2-piece. The lush, layered electronics of ‘Field Theory’ and its follow-up ‘A Small Box Over a Global Goal’ have been stripped away, and replaced with minimal, cyclical piano pieces and treated field recordings. These central elements are offset by a variety of droning synths, various acoustic instruments and the hypnotic voice of folk starlet Milly Hirst (who previously collaborated with Broads on the tracks ‘Young Grizzlies’, ‘Sometimes I Feel Like I’m a Terrible Dad’ and most notably ‘Climbs’).
The opportunity to work on a full album with Milly was one that the band jumped at – her skill at weaving a story through music is incredible, and Milly embraced the challenge of adapting that skill to Broads’ minimalist approach.
“The tracks take inspiration from Norfolk locations, landscapes and culture – In preparing for the album, we had lots of days out in obscure locations across the county, where I made hours of field recordings and Mark took video footage, which he used as a guide for writing his piano parts at home,” says James Ferguson.
“The county of Norfolk is rich in history, contradiction, and oddity, and the three of us wanted to create a document of all of these things. It’s a beautiful, frustrating, exciting, forward/ backward place to live, and after almost a quarter of a century making music here it seemed high time to pay tribute to the environment that has shaped our sound and our approach to art over such a long time.”
Thanks to support from Arts Council England, in April 2020, Broads and Milly Hirst will also embark on a 6-date tour of the locations referenced in the track titles, together with visual artist Liam Roberts, who will manipulate local archive film footage live at each performance.
Photography by Kelly Robb.