EP REVIEW: Hannah Nicholson – ‘Breath’

Hannah Nicholson’s debut EP ‘Breath’ is a meditation on the deeper stages of growing, the personal process of finding one’s place in the world and exploring the roots of human love.

The Mancunian classically-trained singer-songwriter summons all her influences and merges them into one, creating a unique blend of choral, electro and folk, stitched together with a thread that runs from Bach’s fugues to modern day electro-pop.

Nicholson’s solo project followed the dissolution of psych-folk duo Bird to Beast, which fuelled a creative fire and a desire to write, to delve into the complexities of life. The result, an EP produced by Jim Spencer at EVE studios, is a work that glows with honesty.

In ‘Oliver’, the awakening of love is encapsulated in the lines “My body and my soul have been turned on,” and the production is careful and gentle with a backing choir, incredibly rich in harmony, that evoke the joy of the village’s bells tolling at the break of dawn, signalling a new start and opening up a new realm of possibilities.

Jasmine’ reveals again Nicholson’s delicate yet powerful grasp of harmony, built on vocals as soft and generous as velvet. The song is a communion, a coming together of everyone held dearly by the artist.

The EP’s equator is crossed with ‘Crazy’, which provides a space for opening up, where everything is accepted, even the platonic love Nicholson sings about (“And I wake / When I break my own heart/ Knowing I only see you in my dreams”). 

Finally, the title-track ‘Breath’ concerns itself with the deepest layer of this journey and also the hardest one to tackle, a relationship that needs to breathe, a relationship that isn’t balanced, “This is hell for me, and heaven for you,” a reflection on the state of the union that is about to collapse.

The EP is blanketed so carefully, held so gently by the underlaying choral and minimalist instrumentation, that the listener is left in an open meadow where they can enjoy a moment of bliss and calm in this windy world of ours.

The EP ‘Breath’ is available to Stream/Purchase now – and can be found on iTunes here. Nicholson will perform at Union Chapel on 28th October to end the ‘Intimate Spaces Tour’.

Find Hannah Nicholson on Facebook and Twitter.

Sergi Cunill
I love Rothko paintings and Bon Iver

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