When the National released High Violet a few years back, it was an album that spoke very deeply to me about the compromises, decisions and dashed hopes of being an adult. Of course, to be fair, i’m not sure if i would have received the album in the same way if i heard it at 22 instead of 30 with a career, obligations, mistakes and regrets. And at 35, the album has reverberated even stronger, after a failed long-term relationship, obligations and two careers (which keep me quite busy).
Interestingly, Hank Kim has released two full-length albums over the past decade, Blue Alibi and Notorious Rainproof Smile but his newest project Silvery Ghosts features the Emmy-nominated Kelli Scarr, who shares vocal duties with Kim on their soon-to-be released debut effort together, Love and Other Ephemera. Inspired by the Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra duet albums of the 60s, Other Ephemera was written as a musical meditation on the notion of impermanence, and about the process of resurrection and healing, through which a struggling artist finds his true voice, which is something almost any artist would be at least dimly familiar with. And it’s done with an ethereal, spectral feel, with arrangements that combine elements of electronic music and programming, and actual instrumentation such as piano, acoustic guitar, the sitar, and others. One of the singles of the album is an appropriately spectral and haunting rendition of High Violet’s “Conversation 16” complete with a sparse arrangement of swirling electronics and viola. But it’s the the interchange between Scarr’s and Kim’s vocals that add an interesting dynamic to the song – it adds a woman’s perspective on a failing, dysfunctional relationship.