August 14th sees the release of Elvis Costello’s ‘We Are All Cowards Now’, the third advance bulletin from what is now revealed to be a new album, ‘Hey Clockface’, scheduled for release on October 30th by Concord Records.
‘Hey Clockface’ was recorded in Helsinki, Paris and New York and mixed by Sebastian Krys in Los Angeles.
Following the solo recording of ‘No Flag’, ‘Hetty O’Hara Confidential’, and ‘We Are All Cowards Now’, at Suomenlinnan Studio, Helsinki by Eetü Seppälä in February 2020, Costello immediately travelled to Paris for a weekend session at Les Studios Saint Germain.
Watch the video for ‘We Are All Cowards Now’:
Costello tells us,
“I sang live on the studio floor, directing from the vocal booth. We cut nine songs in two days. We spoke very little. Almost everything the musicians played was a spontaneous response to the song I was singing. I’d had a dream of recording in Paris like this, one day.”
The ensemble, dubbed “Le Quintette Saint Germain” by Costello, was recruited for these dates by Steve Nieve (who plays grand piano, upright piano, organ, mellotron & melodica) and features Mickaél Gasche on trumpet, flugel horn and serpent, Pierre-François ‘Titi’ Dufour on cello and the drums, percussion and high harmonies of Ajuq.
Reed player Renaud-Gabriel Pion brought many tones and colours to the performances, playing, contrabass clarinet, bass clarinet, Bb clarinet, tenor saxophone, bass flute and cor anglais.
The Paris sessions were recorded by François Delabrière.
The New York sessions were produced by composer, arranger and trumpet player Michael Leonhart in collaboration with guitarists Bill Frisell and Nels Cline and completed, lyrically and vocally by Costello, “via Electrical Wire.”
“I wanted to write ‘Helsinki-Paris-???’ on the record jacket like this was a perfume or an advertising agency. ‘London’ was a possibility for the third city but London is forever. We’ll be there again. Michael sent this music to me from New York at the perfect time. It connected to elements in both of the previous sessions and completed the picture.”
Speaking of the emotional and dynamic range of the record, Costello said,
“I wanted the record to be vivid, whether the songs demanded playing that was loud and jagged or intimate and beautiful.”
The assembled album, ‘Hey Clockface’ is “An Elvis Costello & Sebastian Krys Production” following on from their work together on Elvis Costello and The Imposters Grammy-winning album ‘Look Now’.
The motion picture of ‘We Are All Cowards Now’ by Eamon Singer & Arlo McFurlow features images of flowers & pistols, smoke & mirrors, tombstones & monuments, courage & cowardice, peace, love ,and misunderstanding.
01. Revolution #49
02. No Flag
03. They’re Not Laughing At Me Now
04. Newspaper Pane
05. I Do (Zula’s Song)
06. We Are All Cowards Now
07. Hey Clockface / How Can You Face Me?
08. The Whirlwind
09. Hetty O’Hara Confidential
10. The Last Confession of Vivian Whip
11. What Is It That I Need That I Don’t Already Have?
12. Radio Is Everything
13. I Can’t Say Her Name