23-03-2024 Music 240

Nick Hudson - Kanda Teenage Honey

Nick Hudson - Kanda Teenage Honey

Brighton alternative pop artist Nick Hudson presents his new album 'Kanda Teenage Honey', an expansive collection of 16 tracks, recorded largely in a huge former Soviet movie studio in Georgia under the shadow of the Ukraine war. Previewed this week by the tracks 'Ortolan'and 'This Heat', Hudson recently released the singles 'For My Silence' and 'Khevsureti', which recently garnered him coverage in Billboard.

Mixed by and featuring Toby Driver of Kayo Dot, this album is graced with numerous talented guests, including Mogwai's Stuart Braithwaite, Stuart Dahlquist (Asva, Burning Witch, Sunn O))), Lizzy Carey (Bat For Lashes), Robert Wyatt collaborator Alfreda Benge, Christopher Nell (legendary German performer and collaborator of US theatre visionary Robert Wilson), and 14-year-old soprano prodigy Poppy Efemey.  

Recorded with Ilya Lukashev at Leno Studio and Sano Studio in Tbilisi, this album was mastered to analogue tape by Paul Pascoe (Barry Adamson, Beat Hotel, Sleaford Mods) at Church Road Studios in Hove, Hudson collaborates with some incredible Georgian musicians and his friend Seva, a Russian dissident who fled the FSB, having worked for Navalny. Hudson explains, "He contributes a poem narrating his thoughts on exile, through which I've layered field recordings of the recent Tbilisi and Paris protests, where many of us got tear-gassed."

"Russia attempted to invade Georgia most recently in 2008 and we've seen a vast influx of Russians fleeing the conflict and resettling in Tbilisi (which endures and suffers a pro-Russian government ideologically in conflict with most of its citizens). This geopolitical tension has inevitably made its way into the lyrical and musical texture of the record via the songs 'Hollow Man' and 'Sky Burial While Alive'. It also contains oligarch-hexing magic realism and a tribute to that vastly-neglected demographic – the old-school homosexual. Musically it encompasses art rock, black metal, ambient music, agitprop folk, charred goth rock, symphonic vastness and piano ballads -all infused with the energies and landscape of Georgia," says Nick Hudson.

In 2021, Hudson released his 'Font Of Human Fractures' album and the 'K69996ROMA:EP'. His band The Academy of Sun released their opus album 'The Quiet Earth' the year before. He's collaborated with such legends as Wayne Hussey (The Mission), Matthew Seligman (David Bowie, Tori Amos, Morrissey), Massive Attack's Shara Nelson, plus David Tibet (Current 93) and queercore icon GB Jones. His vast output also encompasses painting, film and a novel.

"As an album, 'Kanda Teenage Honey' explores ideas of preserving the sacred from the corrosively kleptocratic institutions of church and state: spiritual and material kleptocracy.  The title itself refers to a very real preservation of innocence derived from a story I heard of a local villager whose teenage son was shot and killed: the father had his son's body preserved in honey. As such, there are secular hymns for peace and lucid stillness, tales of saints de-martyring themselves and falling in love free of judgement from anachronistic scrutiny - a thinly veiled parable of queer love.  Two very close friends died within six months of each other during my first year in Georgia – there are requiems in the songs 'Archipelago' and 'Bardo', plus an acappella tribute to the Siberian husky that helped me grieve them during a retreat to the sublime mountainous region of 'Khevsureti' by the Chechen border, where despite being an ostensibly Orthodox country, pagan traditions are still passionately observed.  I dreamed eighty-percent of 'Bardo' in the energised serenity of this beautiful region while mourning my friend Jesse. Patrick, honoured in 'Archipelago', was one of my earliest mentors and a dynamically brilliant pianist.  They are much missed," explains Nick Hudson.

"'Ortolan' references the summer of 2021, when I fled to the same Isle Of Wight monastery at which Scott Walker had sought refuge in the sixties, as my mental and physical health hit a nadir and I was forced to leave the city I'd called home for twenty years. 'This Heat' refers to a return journey from a plague necropolis at the Chechen border, where giddily drunken park rangers piloting a 4X4 hurtled us passengers down a treacherous mountain pass and I briefly thought it might be the last song I'd ever write.  Since then, I've come to learn that Georgians are some of the virtuosic drivers in the world, even drunk, and I need not have feared."

Hudson also just released his book 'The Land Exists So The Seas Don't Argue', showcasing a decade of lyrical output in five albums plus ephemera  – satellite poems that inhabit the same world as each of the primary cosmologies. With a foreword by renowned Scottish author Chris Kelso, this collection embodies a searing intensity and unity of vision - paganism, queer love, grief, death, ecstasy, radical politics, social satire, hymns to nature, her rhythms and forces.

As of March 15, 'Kanda Teenage Honey' is available via Bandcamp, as well as other fine music platforms, such as Spotify and Apple Music. On March 16, Hudson celebrates with an album launch concert in Tbilisi, Georgia, which will be livestreamed for those who cannot be there in person.

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