Every so often a record comes along whose music makes you feel like you’ve been stunned by a kiss. Old Powder New Guns by Dutch chanteuse Lilian Hak is such a disc. Influenced by old films and a desire to make this epic record, a month spent in Bangkok brought everything to the surface in a rush of inspiration realised. An earlier album was electronica-based (see example here) but this is a quantum leap forward, exploding with ideas and pizzazz. On the surface, this record may wear its forties and fifties influences on its sleeve, but, as the title suggests, the old powder is being fired from a new gun.
The lovechild of Rita Hayworth and Julie London with Marge Simpson’s hair, and Barbara Morgenstern playing on a Dansette in the background, Lilian has made a supremely joyful recording. Built-up samples give way to smoky vocals. It’s Havana in the fifties; it’s Paris as Miles Davis hits the town; it’s absolutely now. (See video here)
Stand-out track Never Speak to Strangers is the soundtrack to an unmade Bond film, one where you want the bad girls to kill 007. With stabbing brass, sweeping strings and soaring vocals, you can almost taste the kick of the vermouth in the martini. Sleeping on the Ceiling is In the Mood for Love set in Utrecht. This record is as jazz-cool as John Cassavetes in ‘Johnny Staccato’. Dress up; this is the soundtrack to your autumn. Prepare to be smitten.
For an interview with Lilian in English, please listen to the You and the Night and the Music show on Different Class Radio.