Just under a month on from the release of her last single, ‘Sutherland Avenue‘, Greece’s rising alternative-folk star Irene Skylakaki returns to offer fans her fourth studio album and arguably, her best work to date, Souvenir.
Known for her autobiographical and occasionally disarmingly personal songwriting, Skylakaki’s latest body of work is certainly no different, offering eleven tracks worth of deeply personal and occasionally rather abstract lyricism, against a backdrop of experimental and ever-evolving soundscapes.
Produced by Andres Mesa and Iain Gordon Smith, Souvenir‘s creation was a collaborative effort between them, Skylakaki and several other artists and friends who contributed their ideas and talents to the final product. Because of this, the album lacks a strong running theme or any sort of sonic coherence but what it lacks in uniformity, it more than makes up for in creativity, originality and intrigue.
Here Irene Skylakaki explains the creative process behind Souvenir:
“A few years ago, I met Andres Mesa who was working at the studio of Phil Manzanera as a sound engineer at the time. He was familiar with my music and we started recording songs without a specific plan – sometimes this spontaneity creates a unique creative freedom which was the case in this collaboration. The recordings of the demos took place at Phil Manzanera’s Gallery studio which was the most precious experience. Andres’s fresh outlook on production was a driving power in the creation of the album.
We had a lot of musicians and friends contributing their talent over the years and the album lacks homogeneity in sound but is connected through a deeper cause: recording individual songs that we are happy with irrespective of their style. During the lockdown, I had to leave London and come back to Athens, so I worked on a few songs remotely with Scottish musician, friend, and producer Iain Gordon Smith. This was also a different experience and I’m really happy with the outcome. Overall while this is my fourth album, it feels more like my first one, as my involvement in every little detail was much deeper. I believe it’s a good music ‘photograph’ of where I stand at the moment and I’m excited to share it.”
Souvenir is an incredibly detailed and scenic journey through a musical maze that covers various themes like love, isolation, heartbreak and loneliness, always in new and unexpected ways. Irene Skylakaki’s album Souvenir is a dynamic, deeply personal and emotional journey spread across nine masterfully produced and skillfully written songs. Her haunting, angelic vocals against the backdrop of gentle synths and soft percussive beats creates a sound and mood unlike any other.
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