Brightness by McLean Stephenson
WATCH: “Waltz” –
Brightness is a new project from Alex Knight, an Australian artist who today is sharing a new video, “Waltz.” The track is a warm and stripped down cut, and the visual, which Mclean Stephenson directed, is a fittingly intimate and minimal accompaniment.
“‘Waltz’ is a song of love and gratitude,” explains Knight. “My friend Alex (Crosby) and I experimented using an old Akai 1/4″ Reel to Reel for this song. The tape itself had just about had it and you can hear another song bleeding through from one of its other tracks. It’s made up of one uninterrupted take using a single microphone, along with a mellotron part for the choruses that I overdubbed later.”
“Waltz” is the second single that Knight has released, preceded by “Oblivion.” Watch “Waltz” above and find “Oblivion” and read more about Brightness below.
WATCH: “Oblivion” –
Brightness is Alex Knight, a fifth-generation Australian who grew up in Lake Macquarie, a few hours north of Sydney. Alex wrote his first guitar songs on a water-damaged four-track cassette recorder, selling his music to mates at school, then promptly spending the profits at the canteen. Like many musicians from Australia, he looked to London with saucer eyes, and moved there not long after graduating high school. He found promising starts as a drummer and even toured the world. But London was changing him in a bad way, and a number of negatives set in. By the end of his time there, he found himself sitting alone in the dark of his flat, unable to get up or out. “You’ve lost your poise again,” he sings “so you neck a few more pills and hope that it’s enough to get you through the day.”
Anybody who’s brushed up with the grind of city life will find comfort and companionship in Teething, Brightness’ forthcoming debut LP (out later this year). When Alex moved back home to regroup in 2015, he wrote these songs as a way to untangle himself and make sense of his encounters. The lyric is brutal, but the music is far from a bummer – a celebration of having emerged at the other end. Songs like “Oblivion” and “Surrender” pair Alex’s sharp introspection to joyous scuzzy guitar rock, while “Waltz” is a hissy bedroom number whose detail and conversational style recalls Mark Linkous or Elliott Smith. Speaking of Smith, Alex played and recorded all the instruments himself – all meticulously presented, down to which details not to be so meticulous about. The result is music that’s unusually intimate and personal, like a late night phone call with a close friend: as if Brightness is somehow listening to you as much as you are listening to him.
“Waltz” is his second single, following “Oblivion,” out worldwide on I Oh You (Violent Soho, DMA’s, DZ Deathrays) and with support in the US from Godmode (Shamir, Yvette, Yaeji).