Lilian on video

Remember this post? It got MFA-student Taylor Hubbard very inspired. He contacted Lilian Hak, and received permission to use her track for an assignment. This is what he made:

Taylor writes: ‘It’s footage of Baltimore’s Howard Street, the old nightclub/theater district and now sort of a fading Antiques Row.  It’s populated by a lot of strange and wonderful creatures on the decaying billboards and in the shop windows.  Billie Holiday (who grew up in Baltimore), Frank Sinatra – all the greats – performed in its theaters, which are now shells; in fact it is home to the Eubie Blake Historic Cultural Center. Frankly, every out of town guest I’ve toured Howard Street remarks it looks like it’s been blitzed after a war – which it hasn’t of course, but neglect and apathy have taken their toll on the once thriving boulevard.  Think Dresden. Nonetheless it maintains a soulful character and ramshackle glamour.
‘I happened to catch with camera Baltimore’s first ever French festival and that where the dancers and the overlaid film come from.’

Lilian Hak

Guestpost from Adrian (Different Class Radio) about Dutch chanteuse Lilian Hak. Who does not sing in French (she utters a few words in the song posted below), but she promised she will give it a go!

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.

Lilian Hak – Sleeping on the Ceiling