ALTERNATIVE rock goddess PJ Harvey is currently recording her ninth studio album behind one-way glass within Somerset House.
‘Recording in Progress’ is described as “an architectural installation” to operate like an “exhibition in a gallery”.
Although tickets were very hard to come by we managed to snag one and headed down to an underground den within the depths of Somerset House, guided by the promising sound of a saxophone solo.
The recording studio comprised a glass box that the viewers could wander around and look into the world of Harvey’s creative space.
Everything was white within the recording room bar the instruments and PJ Harvey’s logo emblazoned on the wall in black paint, and the audience’s space was filled with framed handwritten lyrics by the artist herself, making this more of a an interesting visual experience as well as a musical one.
Harvey stood sparrow-like, dressed all in black and instantly recognisable.
Since the exhibition is based around the creative process of recording an album I had been warned it could be quite hit and miss – I could have watched a guitar be tuned for 45 minutes, but fortunately this was not the case.
I not only got to witness the intricacies of the recording process, but also got to see the results – including a jam session with Harvey and her guitarists, and her singing one of her brand new songs that will be featured on the new album.
The vibe within Harvey’s space was creative yet relaxed with Harvey even joking: “What am I doing? I’ve not even written the chords down for this song!”
Although it was a comfortable atmosphere, Harvey had a very specific vision when it came to her sound, going into great detail on exactly how the guitarists should play the music or singing the same line in a few different ways to herself to find the one she seemed to think fitted best within the piece.
Overall, a truly amazing exploration into the creative mind of a musical genius.