When Clash first came across Sophie Hunger her work sat in that indie meets folk meets jazz hybrid.
Gradually, though, her songs evolved and changed, maturing and accepting new influences in the process.
Relocating to Berlin, Sophie's immersion in club culture broke her music apart, forcing her to re-think the way she approaches and structures songwriting.
New album 'Molecules' is the end result of this, with electronics billowing through her folk tapestries, resulting in something wholly unique.
Out on August 31st, it's a record framed not merely by musical influences, but a broader cultural sweep as well. Here, Sophie Hunger picks out some key touchstones for Culture Clash...
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The Notebook by Agota Kristof. Tale of abandoned identical twins during an unnamed war in an unspecified, foreign country. The protagonists don’t have names. In order to survive they invent a set of exercises whose results they mark in a notebook which in turn becomes the novel. The exercises have titles like “exercise to toughen the mind” or “exercise in begging”. It’s an abstract existentialist tale, extremely blunt yet intense. Highly original.
A Few People Seek Happiness And Die Laughing by German author Sibylle Berg, collection of short stories. It’s as dark and brutal as The Notebook but features a richness and originality of language mixed with splashes of hilariousness. In the same line I would also have to mention Vernon Subutex by Virginie Despentes or Eileen by Ottesa Moshfegh.
Other books I love: Carry Me Down by M.J. Hyland. Story of a boy who can detect lies. History Of Wolves by Emily Fridlund. The Neapolitan Trilogy by Elena Ferrante or The First Bad Man by Miranda July.
The film Sister by Ursula Meier. It throws you into physical, natural, relational extremes — the big and the little, the rich and the poor, the grand and the base. It works almost like a parable. A drama set at a Swiss ski resort and centred on a small boy who supports his adult sister (played by Léa Seydoux) by stealing from wealthy guests. And in the end there’s an almost unbearable surprise. And Gillian Anderson’s in it too!
The film Western by Valeska Grisebach. This is film making at its best. It’s like a sacral poem for atheists.
Jam and Jerusalem written and directed by Jennifer Saunders. I think I learned lots of my English by watching this series. I think it was a flop in England but it’s still one of the best series I’ve ever seen. So funny, so smart. Makes you want to move to the country side even though you know you’d shoot yourself after two days.
I always carry a miniature version of a Swiss army knife with me. They even let you keep it on the plane in the cabine. You can solve almost any problem within the realm of the real, physical world. Of course it cannot solve imaginary problems which unfortunately are the vast majority of problems.
These are three albums I listened to a lot while making my record: Broadcast's 'Tender Buttons', Jane Weaver's 'Modern Cosmology' and 'Capacity Broadcast' by Big Thief.
Weaver are simply sounding amazing, when it comes to production these two records were my references, the minimalist style of Broadcast and Weaver’s insane synth sound material. When it comes to the pure art of singing, emotions and lyrics it’s Big Thief that kept me company throughout last year.
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Sophie Hunger's new album 'Molecules' will be released on August 31st.
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