Best known for her contributions to cult favorite shoegazing band Trespassers William from 1997 to 2012, Anna-Lynne Williams is seeing something of a resurgence following her cover of Beyoncé‘s “Halo” being featured on HBO’s The Young Pope. Once again producing solo work under the stage name of Lotte Kestner, Williams is anticipating the release of her new album, Off White, coming September 1.
Incorporating some of the hauntingly melodic influences of her dream pop past, Williams’ new Kestner output is of the sparse, ethereal beauty that those who’ve come to know her would expect. Soft-spoken yet astoundingly intense, Williams, as Kestner, navigates her work with a nimble passion indicative of her 20 years creating art.
A certain grace and fragility come so naturally to Kestner in Off White. It’s a gorgeous collection of modern folk music that ends as ominously, nostalgically, and sweetly as it begins.
On the album, Lotte Kestner says:
“Off White is the sound of the same equipment transported to several different rooms, over the course of several years. Due to a series of accidents and injuries affecting both of Williams’ arms, it took longer to execute than expected, but each song was therefore performed and mixed in an intimate slow motion.”
“The first recordings, of ‘Ashland’ and ‘Another Moon’, were completed in a borrowed house in Strawberry, Arizona while surrounded by bats and scorpions, during a month dedicated to writing and recording. The rest of the songs were written in a series of apartments and homes in Seattle, mostly in a dark attic in North Seattle with a green lantern on.
“Many of the songs revisit Williams’ favorite theme of romantic love, from the various angles of in and out, of beginning and end, but much of the album digs deeper and darker as it projects into the future, where we may have made grave mistakes that we have not felt the effects of yet, with a handful of songs following lone protagonists who seem on the verge of vanishing into thin air.
“A couple of the songs on the album were inspired directly by films. ‘In Glass’ was written for the indie film Maybe Someday and appears in it. ‘Senses’ was directly inspired by the movie Perfect Sense.
“Another muse of the album was a particular tree which has several cameos throughout the album, and its title.
“Most of the album is pared down and performed and mixed entirely by Williams. However, ‘Have You Sailed Home’ and ‘Senses’ both feature lush string arrangements written and performed by Andrew Joslyn (Macklemore, David Bazan), and ‘Go to Sleep Now’ features a rhythm section (Adrian Van Batenberg, Christopher Merrill).”