Following a stream of thematic and conceptual albums over the last 15 years Darren Hayman has recently returned to a more introspective, personal kind of music. Darren received critical praise, awards and government grants for albums about the witch trials in the English Civil War; the mid 20th-century boom in new towns; forgotten rural communities; and the political writings of William Morris. “You Will Not Die is about relationships of all kinds beginning and ending, but it's also about our interior lives and how we process change as we get older. I was thinking about mortality and the temporariness of everything but also thinking of that fragility as a very beautiful thing to try and put into music."
"I think of this record as taking place at night, in contrast to the daytime setting of Home Time. This is an album about empty dance floors, lacklustre parties and lonely night buses home." The record is entirely electronic and recorded on Darren's collection of '70s synthesisers. "These instruments themselves are very fragile and mortal, they corrode and decay and behave in erratic ways. They do however, remain alive, for now." Darren is the only musician on the album and the music conforms to a strict set of self-imposed rules; only one voice, only 12 tracks, only one polyphonic instrument. ¨Through this control and limited palette I found new melodies and structures. I wanted these old machines to guide me towards my most human record.¨
'A Real Human Being' is inspired by Darren's experience of life drawing. "Modern life encourages us to reduce people to images, jokes, memes. In life drawing, you're treating the person as a form, watching where the light and shadows fall, and then you're reminded that they are real, alive."
In 'No Lime for the Gin', a group of old friends is reunited in middle age, holding a half-hearted party where the talk is dominated by their hopes and broken dreams. 'Turn My Grey Tick Blue' is a wry look at the anxieties of dating in the digital age.
'You Were Always Here' ends the album on an optimistic note. Finding love late in life, the narrator ruminates on how the bad things happened for a reason, and that perhaps we always end up where we're supposed to be.
"In recent years my life has had its own upheavals and it would seem weird not to have this emerge in my music," says Darren. Home Time (2020) was a bright, acoustic, set of songs but was, at its heart, a break-up album. "I wanted to make fun of myself and of this kind of record."
You Will Not Die is a much slower and more brooding voyage through similar waters. It is a seductive, soulful collection of songs and instrumentals that sits among Darren's most emotive and intelligent work.
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The new rules:
1. Only twelve tracks. Stereo = 2.
2. Nothing touches air. Only the voice.
3. Only one polyphonic instrument per song.
4. Maximum of two modulations per sound. Echo, reverb isn't a modulation. Delay is. Filter-envelope is.
5. Only two kicks and two snares per bar.
6. Only on voice. All solo vocal.
7. Drums separated. Each sound has its own track.
8. No fills. Things start and stop.
9. Think rounded, blunt, but not sharp.
10. Think about middle tones, don't worry about whole spectrum.
released November 4, 2022
All songs written and performed by Darren Hayman, except "Here's the Stillness" by Darren Hayman and Robert Rotifer.
Voice on "You Were Always Here" by Katherine Blake.
Consultant producer Johny Lamb.