Hilary Woods’ has just announced her new record Birthmarks due for release via Sacred Bones Records on the 13th March 2020. Birthmarks has been a labor of intensity and intuition written over the course of two years. Recorded whilst heavily pregnant between Galway and Oslo in the winter of 2019, Woods explores the oscillating and volatile processes of selfhood and becoming, hidden gestational growth, and the birthing of the Self, amidst continuous social and personal change.

Birthmarks is a record that hunts for ways in which to revisit and caress wounds left by the memory of their scars. In its mystery and attentiveness to the art of alchemy and the world of the unseen, it is a journey through textural fog and feral density that gives way to passages of voracious sonic exorcism and poetic healing. Its eight songs traverse planes of visceral physicality, stark tender space, and breathtaking introspective beauty. Spurred on and crafted by the impulse to create a more corporeal sonic tendon for her songs to inhabit, Woods took her vision and home recordings to Norwegian experimental noise producer and filmmaker Lasse Marhaug. The collaboration proved rare and fruitful and lies at the heart of this record. Field recordings, analogue bass synthesizers, hushed vocals, and the breath are underpinned with heavy noise processing, fierce and wide cello, rich percussion, sable saxophone, and electronics.

Birthmarks is inspired and informed by ideas of inner transmutation in the face of anxiety, post-war Japanese and wet-plate photography, early music, the secret life of trees, wolves, drone, the drawings of Francis Bacon, the images of Francesca Woodman, the films of Chris Marker, the experiential collapse of community, and the power of the lone human voice. It is a deeply powerful and enigmatic record that ultimately transcends its disquiet roots.



Background:

Hilary Woods is an Irish music and visual artist from Dublin's Northside. She is signed to Sacred Bones Records NYC.

Hilary focused on painting at fine art school before undertaking a degree in literature and a masters in film from Trinity College Dublin. In 2014 she self - released her EP "Night", which was recorded nomadically in and around Dublin city in whatever free space could be found. After launching Night with three sold out dates in The Boys School in Smock Alley Theatre Dublin, Woods embarked with her then band on a string of live shows both at home and abroad accompanied by her film installation of the same name. Her follow up EP Heartbox (2016) was made available on 7"vinyl from Rough Trade London, whilst 2017 was spent writing songs at home and reconnecting with her first instrument - the piano, which culminated in her debut solo full length record Colt. Colt was written and self- recorded at home before being brought to Berlin to be mixed and co-produced by James Kelly (WIFE, Alter of Plagues) in the Winter of 2017, it was released on Sacred Bones Records in June 2018.


Woods' beguiling song- craft is described as 'bewitching', sonically 'spectral', 'ominous and dreamlike', with the Sunday Times hailing early solo recordings as 'a revelation in terms of the depth of song-writing'. Her songs imbued with wonder, heartache and a compelling darkness, are accompanied by a tenacious creativity which has seen Woods stretching across inter-disciplinary thresholds exploring sound art, experimental visuals and film all informed by a rich background in dance. In 2017, Hilary was awarded Dublin Fringe Festival's 'Wild Card artist' and subsequently granted a place on Theatre Forum's Next Stage programme. Other recent projects include composing original score for horror film as part of the Irish Film Institute's season celebrating the cinema of the Weimar Republic, and an audio visual installation titled 'Wayfarer' which was presented and funded by the local fishing community, in a sorting house in Howth.


Live, Woods most recently completed a North American tour (supported by Culture Ireland), invited to play at prestigious art and music festivals Le Guess Who, Sonic City and Zemlika, together with her playing shows as special guest to Grouper, Warpaint and Keaton Henson. Early 2019 saw Hilary supporting LOW across Europe and Marissa Nadler in the States (funded by Culture Ireland), followed by dates in Turkey and an intimate headline show at the Tungenes Fyr Lighthouse in Norway.

Hilary is currently completing her second full length record with details to be announced very shortly.




Press quotes:


"A dreamlike world on the edge of dusk"

-Treble Zine


"Colt feels like it’s set in the dead of night. From the first soft pulse of purplish synth that rises on opening track “Inhaler,” it’s clear immediately that this is music that draws its strength from a sense of ghostly mystery. It’s a cliché to use the phrase “Lynchian” for any and all synth-based, minor-key music, but it’s hard not to picture the fog floating through the trees of Twin Peaks in Woods’s baleful, darkly melodic music. If all Colt had going for it was atmospherics, it would be a pleasant diversion—comfort food for moody goths. But throughout Colt, Woods reveals herself to be a masterful melody writer. The way her voice drips down the octave live melting ice on “Inhaler” is masterfully executed, each note serving as a counter to the synths rippling like lace curtains behind her. On “Take Him In,” she tugs an insistent vocal melody through a piano arpeggio that ripples like the ocean at night. “Jesus Said” is almost medieval, Woods alternately elongating and rushing through notes as a lute-like bass melody cranks away behind her. Taken as a whole, Colt is utterly hypnotic, an album that you disappear into and allow its ghosts and phantoms to paint pictures around you."

-Bandcamp's top 7 new essential releases


"Beautiful .. an unassuming album full of somber allure."

- FACT MAGAZINE


"This debut on Sacred Bones, announces A Sublime New Voice"

- The Quietus


"Remarkably beautiful, ‘Colt’ is the sound of an artist stepping back into the shadows, away from the glare and the gloss, and shining brighter than ever."

- Clash Magazine


"Utterly hypnotic"

-Bandcamp


"Colt marks the arrival of a new voice crafting sublime bedroom narratives of trauma, recovery and quiet victory."

-The Quietus


"Magical.. ethereal vocals drift above delicate piano.. an atmosphere both serene & ghostly"

- Resident Music


"Layered and Harrowing Compositions, an imperative listen"

- The Thin Air


"Stark and haunting compositions that stand on the edge of a knife"

- Bandcamp


“‘Colt’ is a healing, empowering, human record, largely thanks to Woods’ understanding of melody and the impact it can have on one’s senses and emotions”

- Loud & Quiet


“Ghostly, atmospheric, intense, ‘Colt’ is an impressive debut”

- Uncut


“Such a powerful piece of work” (5/5)

- NARC


“Colt is a remarkable debut”

- London in Stereo


“A strange and enticing world”

- MOJO


“‘Colt’ flawlessly details the Dublin musician’s personal exclusion through the darkest of times”

- Bristol Live Magazine


“Relish in the relaxing comfort of Woods ethereal voice melting into this dark, stormy palace” (8/10) - The Line of Best Fit


"A Towering achievement.. Incredibly evocative..personal, affecting.. enrichingly human, such a powerful piece of work." - NARC Mag


"A Force of her own"

- Brooklyn Vegan


"Meticulous"

- The Line of Best Fit


"Full of anguish and endlessly cathartic..A Remarkable Debut . Gossamer"

- London in Stereo


“With lead track “Inhaler”, she casts a hypnotising spell that places her somewhere between Marissa Nadler and Jenny Hval”

- DIY


"Startling minimalism taken to new heights.. these arrangements that are full of mystery and wonder .. songs that speak to us in the most moving of ways."

- The Crack Mag


"For-boding, sparse, and enrapturing... a source of great mystery."

- The Last Mixed Tape


"An album of haunting ballads. These songs invoke the spirits of inner space rather than from beyond the grave."

- CVLT


"An Impressive Debut"

- UNCUT


"Woods' haunting vocal work, providing an enchanting delicacy to the album.. Prodigal Dog and Kith are meditative and intense, while the prominent electronic beats of Jesus Said present an intriguing masterpiece.. an intoxicating dream pop haze"

- Bristol Live Mag


"An absorbing collection of sketch slow burners. Aiming to examine the allure of isolation and the complexities of desire, fans of Chelsea Wolfe's dark threnodies will find much to love on Colt. Ghostly lullaby 'Take Him In' is a simple yet stunning effort; the magnetic funeral march 'Limbs' is chilling and thrilling.. and 'Black Rainbow' is a seductive take on 50s torch songs ... A slow burner, Colt is the sound of an artist firing on all creative cylinders."

- Hot Press


Bewitching, slow-burning and artfully arranged.”

- The Irish Independent


*****


"A revelation in terms of the depth of song-writing"

-The Sunday Times


"The wonderfully spectral "Sabbath" – the second track taken from her forthcoming Heartbox EP – is a masterfully meditative six-minute effort from the Dublin musician, melding sparse rhythms with a serene fog of softly swirling piano lines, synth and more."

- The Thin Air http://thethinair.net/2016/07/watch-hilary-woods-sabbath/


"A Potent New Voice"

- Clash


"Deft, warm, and indelibly melodic"

-State Magazine


"Stunning" - "For lovers of soaring surrealscapes."

-Drowned in Sound http://drownedinsound.com/news/4150211-video-world-premier--hilary-woods-sabbath


"Ominously dark and dreamlike.. An uncompromising and singular songwriter."

-The Last Mixed Tape

https://thelastmixedtape.com/2016/07/13/watch-hilary-woods-releases-lynchian-new-video-for-sabbath/



"Her sound is absolutely alluring"

-Dublin Concerts


"Intriguing, arresting stuff"

-Thumped


"Everything about her set was exceptional. The Dublin musician, with bassist foundations, continues to venture into the dark ambiance of eery piano and synth lines combined with an alluring and nose-crinkling hefty drum that is impossible not to throw a fist in the air rhythmically to."

- State Magazine


"A beguiling song-craft that flickers with brilliance...A real ethereal pop delight."

- Hot Press


"Spell-binding vocals layered with atmospheric instrumentals"

- In Dublin



"As enchanting and engrossing as ever, Woods and band translated the pulsing rhythms and hushed, crafted sound of the artist’s recent E.P. Night. Through captivating renditions of ‘Flames’ and ‘Secret Sabbath’, Woods once again defined herself as one of the country’s most unique and tonally defined songwriters...A slow-burning record that flickers with brilliance, Hilary Woods’ new E.P. Night marks a continued and promising evolution in sound from the artist."

-TLMT



"Woods and her band were stellar on the night, moving from stripped back singer-songwriter fare into more dissonant, effect-laden passages with a relaxed confidence"

-Totally Dublin


"The musician, seems to orchestrate each musical and creative movement around her with beguiling confidence.

In bewitching form, Woods stays silent between performances, ratcheting up the tension and keeping the show feeling cohesive and unbroken by outside interference…Affecting in its atmosphere and enraptured in stylised creativity... mark the impactful return of a uncompromising and singular songwriter."

-TLMT


"Her sound seems to be inwrought with this delicious,darkness..Woods’ mesmeric singing is comprised of whispered vocals, shimmering atmospherics and poetic lyrics.. A force to be reckoned with in terms of song writing and performance. It's a scintillating listen. The vocals perfectly befit the beat, there’s that slow drawl to her voice that simply gets under one’s skin; the lyrics just ooze a mystical quality."

- Dublin Concerts



"Hushed vocals, reminiscent of Daughter’s Elena Tonra, nestled atop sparse but atmospheric accompaniment, to create an other-worldly arrangement that is a very promising indicator of an EP to come."

- In Dublin


"Stunning...dense as the songs are with allusive imagery, heading straight as they do for the subconscious, you could certainly make a case for Night as Terence Malick music."

- State Magazine


"Her sound is absolutely alluring ..with so much space to expand sonically, sudden and impactful introduction of an ominous, yet enchanting, piano part exemplifies the intricately created landscape in which Woods’ songwriting resides."

- TLMT


"Hilary Woods is afforded a similar hushed reverence, so much so that at times the seated audience in Theater Kikker seem unsure whether to clap or not. There’s a darker undercurrent to Woods’ work, with many songs starting off with deep drones and ominous rumbles. Songs from her acclaimed debut Colt are rendered with just an acoustic guitar or piano, laying them bare in skeletal form, yet they remain hauntingly beautiful. Near pitch darkness adds to the intrigue, her voice drifting through the gloom like a ghost." Drowned in Sound live Review from Le Guess Who, November 2018







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