HANNE HUKKELBERG – ‘BIRTHMARK’: NEW ALBUM TO BE RELEASED 16th AUGUST 2019
Norwegian vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Hanne Hukkelberg returns with her sixth album, ‘Birthmark’, which will be released August 16th on her own label, Hukkelberg Music. The album follows her critically acclaimed album “Trust” in 2017, and equally celebrated movie soundtrack “My Heart Belongs to Daddy”, which came out in 2018.
Hukkelberg’s distinctive organic sound, with a mix of quirky field recordings, samples and amazing vocals has rewarded her with praise and fans all over the world. On her new album she continues to evolve with this musical approach, with her beautiful vocals placed front and center over instrumentation including household percussion and sampled sounds from everyday life. But on ‘Birthmark’ Hukkelberg goes even more pop than she has before, inspired by a string of collaborations over the last few years with great songwriters and artists such as Emilie Nicolas, Highasakite and Bernhoft, as well as Todd Terje and Brian Ferry. She has also been inspired by revisiting her adolescent love for soul and R’n’B, which also has colored the soundscape on this record.
All the songs on ‘Birthmark’ came to be by improvising on her grandmother’s piano, now belonging to Hukkelberg and taking up much room in her studio, but also in her heart and music:-I really loved my grandmother, so writing ‘Birthmark’ with this piano as a base makes it a very emotional album too me, Hukkelberg says.
Music was always a vital presence in Hanne Hukkelberg’s childhood. She grew up in a family of musicians, her mother was a classical pianist and teacher and her father was a church organist. Hukkelberg’s grandmother and her piano was a central part in this musical upbringing; together they would improvise and practise on the piano before performing together for seniors in the local community.Together with her older brother and sister, she also joined the local church choir from an early age. Inspired by Norwegian liturgical psalms, her grandmother’s piano and her mother’s collection of classical and Slavic staples, Hukkelberg soon started to hum, and strum,and tap on instruments, improvising music and singing.
In her teen years she became the lead singer of metal band Funeral, broadening her musical horizons to include rock, jazz, electronic and experimental music.During her studies, she performed in a variety of metal, prog rock, and free jazz ensembles. Hukkelberg graduated from the Norwegian Academy of Music in 2003, emerging as a vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist with her own fresh take on music. It was also there she met Kåre Chr. Vestrheim–a tutor who would later became one of Hukkelberg’s closest friends and collaborators. Their musical partnership would span more than a decade, with Vestrheim recognising and nurturing Hukkelberg’sa-typical approach to pop music, non-traditional instrumentation–such as kitchen utensils and bicycle spokes–and effortless ability tomerge a myriad of genres.“Birthmark” is self-produced by Hukkelberg, and while her first albums were beautifullymouldedin the hands of producer Vestrheim, resulting in a rich landscape somewhere in between pop,jazz and electronica, she now explores a more minimalistic approach:-After 15 years of quite maximalist songs, I am now aiming to give the vocal and lyrics more focus on this album.To make sure I can accomplish this,I am trying to keep the production as minimalistic as possible, giving more space to the more vital elements of the songs.
The themes on Hukkelberg’s upcoming album have a clear narrative and cover science, faith, love, loss and everyday life:-I go from big existential matters to small everyday things on this album, just like in my own life. It’s about how I look at the world and how it is to live in it and all the relationships, troubles and joy this world can bring. The first song is called “Don’t dream” and has“blue blue winds” in there somewhere, while the very last song, a ballad called “Summer Shadows” is about not appreciating what you have until it’s gone.The songs in the middle cover insecurity, youth naivety, ageing, hormones, climate change, science and of course, faith.
The album was recorded in her studio in Oslo, but was very much inspired by her trips to big cities like Berlin, Munich, London and LosAngeles:-This is the first album that I have made entirely in Oslo, but a lot of my field recordings are from other places, an example being that I used quite a lot of household percussion from a backstage in Gothenburg. I have toured and travelled a lot these past years, and I think that experience gives the record a universal feel, even though it’s made and produced entirely at Grünerløkka in Oslo.
Along with a string of highly acclaimed albums, such as her breakthrough debut LP ‘Little Things’ (2004) to her most recent studio album ‘Trust’ (2017), which was also the first release on her own label Hukkelberg Music, she has toured extensively across Europe and the US. As well as a full European run with Wilco and a performance with Jose Gonzales at New York’sBowery Ballroom, she has also performed at SXSW, The Great Escape, Roskilde, Pukkelpop, Eurosonic and was personally invited byJarvis Cocker (Pulp) to play at his self-curated Meltdown Festival.Hukkelberg, one of few female producers in Norway, has also been busy producing for other artists, especially focusing on vocal production. Hukkelberg was the vocal producer of the Norwegian Grammy-winning album ‘Tranquille Emilie’ by Emilie Nicolas and Highasakite’s ‘Uranium Heart’, among others.