album feels more like it honestly expresses my tastes
and my feelings. I think that in some of the songs
you feel that you’re transported to another
era, but I think it’s difficult to pinpoint
when or where that is,” says Sarah Blasko of
her latest release, “As Day Follows Night”.
third album takes the listener on an almost timeless
journey to an alluring, yet mysterious destination.
An artist never content with repetition, hers is a
body of work that displays progression over tangents.
Her vision becomes clearer with time, as comparisons
fade. This is a singer and a sound beyond easy classification.
the title suggests, “As Day Follows Night”
is something of an awakening. It is the dawn that
follows a night of hardship, the hope that follows
heartbreak and the realisation of inner strength.
from touring commitments, preparation for “As
Day Follows Night” started around twelve months
set up a kind of ‘office’, a space with
just a piano, a guitar and some books and I tried
to go in there every day. Not exactly 9 to 5, but
as close as I could get to that.”
increased focus not only saw Sarah shape the foundations
of the next album but also embrace a very different
challenge, composing the score for the Bell Shakespeare
Company’s 2008 production of Hamlet. The melancholic
tone of the play resonated with her as she worked
simultaneously across both projects.
was good to have something alongside the album writing
that had a deadline because it made me slightly more
disciplined. It was sort of like exercise that kept
my energy up for the task of writing the album,”
she says. “When I did the performances for Hamlet
over two months last year, in between the time I was
on stage, I would sit at the backstage piano and write
my album songs.”
intricacies of old were stripped back and the results
were organic, not synthesised; more direct and honest.
though I didn’t really play piano, it’s
my favourite instrument and I found its sound inspiring:
the loneliness of it. It suited Hamlet and it suited
my state of mind at the time. I knew from the start
that I wanted all the instruments to have air in them.
No effects pedals or synths. Lots of strings and piano.
I didn’t want much guitar,” she explains.
incubation lasted nine months after which Blasko set
off overseas. By the end of the year, the fragments
were in place. After her time in Sydney, Melbourne
and a week spent writing in an apartment in Paris,
Sarah was ready for the studio.
recording her two previous albums overseas, Sarah’s
intention was to remain in Australia. However, while
travelling in Scandinavia, she made a lasting connection
with Swede, Björn Yttling (Peter, Björn
& John) – who has shaped recordings as diverse
as The (International) Noise Conspiracy, The Hives,
Camera Obscura and Lykke Li.
felt that some of the things he’d worked on
had old fashioned elements but with a freshness to
them that seemed to embrace all kinds of music. This
seemingly open-minded approach was what attracted
me to working with Björn. Also, when I met with
him he seemed extremely enthusiastic and direct.”
Björn, Sarah found a producer to push her out
of her comfort zone. Over a period of only ten days
they worked at Atlantis and Decibel studios in Stockholm,
with local Swedish players from a jazz pallet of strings,
brass, piano, nylon guitar, banjo, double bass, percussion
took my vision and helped make it into a reality,
but took it in directions I never imagined it could
go – particularly rhythmically.”
of the songs ended up sounding a lot more upbeat in
the end. A quote from Leonard Cohen about blues singers
seemed apt to me in preparing this record… something
about how with blues singers you hear the heartbreak/the
sadness but it’s uplifting; you don’t
hear the whinge. This inspired me. The sadness somehow
important aspect of these sessions was Björn’s
approach to voice.
was great to have someone working on the record that
felt that there didn’t need to be too many things
around this and had confidence that the voice and
the songs could carry so much of the mood and expression.”
Björn, Blasko felt she had found an ally. Having
written the songs in solitude, it was in the studio
that Sarah wanted the collaboration to begin.
and I were very different, so now and then things
could be tense, but essentially I felt that he understood
where I was coming from and we found it exhilarating
when things started coming together. There were a
lot of moments when we both felt that what we were
doing was something very special and it was quite
an exciting experience. So many things seemed to come
together quite effortlessly too.”
the haunting sounds of ‘All I Want’ to
the stomping tomes of ‘No Turning Back’,
the fragility of ‘Is My Baby Yours?’ to
the soulful ‘We Won’t Run’ Blasko
brings beauty, heartbreak and hope alive with her
phenomenal third album, “As Day Follows Night”.