The first album in this year’s listening is Anohni’s Hopelessness. For those not aware, Anohni is the chosen name of the the artist formerly known as Antony Hegarty. She’s no stranger to the Mercury Prize, having won in 2005 with I Am A Bird Now.
This album is an altogether spikier affair. The songs deal with drone warfare, surveillance, global warming, the betrayal of the left, loss. Anohni’s torch singer vocals are this time underpinned by bombastic electronica courtesy of Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke. It feels a very confident statement of direction. It’s probably reading too much to think that the positive choice to integrate her private identity with the public persona has empowered her artistic vision, but whatever, it’s a great listen.
At times I’m put in mind of Björk, who I’ve always respected for her choice in collaborators and desire to continually push her art. The ‘Hounds of Love’ drums at the start of 4 Degrees are also striking. Overall, I’m also reminded of Holly Herndon’s “Platform” album which I listened to a lot towards the end of last year.
It’s a strong start. Next up, Bat for Lashes. Let’s see what she can muster.
Listen on Spotify: