A MULTIDISCIPLINARY artist by trade and by vocation, comfortable in any number of mediums, Heka is the sonic alias of Francesca Brierley, who’s just signed to the excellent Manchester-based independent Balloon Machine, home already to the breathtaking folk stylings of Laura Fell.
Her debut EP for the zine-turned-label is succinctly titled (a) and will be released on May 19th; you can hear a first track today, “(a) wall”.
It’s stylishly cool-jazz; caressing vocals, Rhodes electric piano and impressionistic trumpet weaving in and out, this last coming courtesy Jemima Coulter, of Hailaker. It’s music for noir assignations, ceiling fans, a late night hammering the world into shape with an intimate, maybe capturing that one moment of one brandy too many, everything still elegant and full of righteous conviction, while maybe the room begins to blur and slide away from your immediate grasp just a little. It’s a deep, dark jazz-blues of the sort that’ll rouse you in the way you probably haven’t been since Beth Gibbons seduced you with “Roads”.
As heka, Francesca seeks to explore the connection between sound, space and memory by assembling recordings from different time zones and different eras to create a shadowy, romantic noir.
She says of “(a) wall”: “I guess the song is an ode to anger. Not in an absolute sense, but as the cathartic alternative to the numb powerlessness that can take over and swallow every other emotion when we find ourselves in a painful or shocking situation.
“‘Hate’ in this sense is seen as a way to eventually move past the grief, especially in the face of someone else’s lack of action, or evasiveness, which can be overwhelmingly paralysing.”
Elsewhere on the EP, ‘(a) mask’ perhaps best exemplifies how heka challenges notions of time and place: bringing together a few notes of electric piano recorded at a friend’s house in San Diego, the saxophone of a street busker and a recording of The Doors Of Perception/Heaven And Hell author Aldous Huxley on acid.
We’re tipped to expect more of her prowess with a film camera as we move towards the release of the EP next month. Are you ready to explore heka’s vision?