A Blaze of Feather is pleased to share details of his new album, Labyrinth. It will be released on 14th August 2020. It launches today with a new single, Magpie, the second new track to be released since the eponymous debut album back in 2017.
Listen/watch the self-filmed/directed video to Magpie HERE
Blaze of Feather is the brainchild of Cornwall native Mickey Smith. Written, recorded and self-produced at home in the converted shed at the bottom of his garden in the wilds of rural Cornwall, Labyrinth is a tense, dissonant affair. Where the debut record was soaked in a dewy, psychedelic haze, Labyrinth is a more propulsive listen. Unusual shapes and sounds that crackle and fizz. Where it doesn’t differ from the early recordings is that sheer sense of scale.
Mickey has this innate penchant for writing easy, laidback melodies and painting them with a sonic dissonance that fits square pegs into round holes and makes it sound so gorgeously opaque. Those pegs fit like a glove.
“During the recent writing and recording sessions I listened to Bjork a lot. Her individual creative energies just strike me as phenomenal. Vulnicara in particular breaks my heart every listen. I keep Bjork’s work in mind whenever creating gets challenging. How open and fearless she is with feelings and emotions, unleashing vulnerability and strength through musicality. It gives me some comfort when I get scared of voicing some hidden part of myself through my own work.”
Inspiration can hit you at unusual moments, whether you’re seeking it or otherwise. The bleakness and breathtaking beauty of the Cornwall horizon acts as a constant source, juxtaposed with the devastation of grief, pain and confusion that Mickey’s experienced of recent years. He’s a man of the earth. Weighted by his location, and in touch with those surroundings that he holds close to heart.
The songs themselves speak to that physical energy too. Palpably. And with a craftsman’s attention to detail, where the minutiae can be deafening.
“‘Magpie’ was certainly a cornerstone. It’s a kind of love letter to West Cornwall where I’m from, so it speaks for the whole record in a way. There’s a wild old energy about the place. Mischief in the air coloured with lost things. The local clubs are the Magpies or the Pirates. Kind of sums up the vibe one way or another down here. Memories always flood my mind, every corner is a trigger. I try and appreciate the magic in the air despite this wonkiness and despair beneath the surface. Penzance is the last stop on the train tracks and it is the Wild West in its own way. I began writing the song from the perspective of dementia slowly stealing my Nan’s memory. She’s never been past Truro and all she knows is here, she’s as Cornish as they come. It gradually became about that disconnect I felt in parallel though. How sometimes it’s easier to embrace apathy than deal with the real shit, whether that’s through burying your head in the sand or partying hard.
“Everything seems to be out of reach as a kid. The cities and the chance of work, anything of consequence is owned by someone far away. It’s like you’ve already been forgotten before you’ve even begun living. Apathy becomes the obvious option and that can have heavy consequences. There’s still this mystical energy here though: watchful, charged and present. You have to be wily enough to steal a glance at the secrets sleeping wherever you are before your chances really have gone I guess.”
What Mickey has created in this second Blaze of Feather record is something completely existing outside the orbit we find ourselves in. It’s otherworldly. And yet it speaks to a very real, natural sense of self that we often all need to find the time to seek out. Meditative. We live in a strange world, and finding a moment or two to breathe can be a real effort. That sense of self now finds itself a new soundtrack.
Mickey concludes, “In 2020, I feel full of hope and hopelessness, fear and overwhelming joy. Mind and eyes pinned open and ready to learn. One foot in front of the other each day, glad to wake up and dream each morning. I take nothing for granted and try to leave nothing behind.”