Mick Harvey & Amanda Acevedo have shared the latest track from their forthcoming collaborative album, Phantasmagoria in Blue – out on Mute on vinyl, CD and digitally on 1 September 2023: https://mute.ffm.to/mhaa_pib
Here’s the blurb:
Watch the video for their take on ‘Love is a Battlefield’, where the tempo is brought down from Pat Benatar’s classic 1983 hit to create an evocative paean to the complex nature of love in turmoil.
“The idea for a version of ‘Love is a Battlefield’ came from a friend, Emma Pursey”, Mick explains, “who was making an independent version of the Sam Shepherd play ‘Fool for Love’ and wanted it as the song in the production. It immediately seemed logical to create it as a duet and, indeed, the verse lyrics – which go almost unnoticed in the Pat Benatar version – lent themselves perfectly to this treatment and a country style arrangement. It wasn’t used in the end, but the idea of a version of the song had lodged in my mind and I took the possibility of recording it to Amanda for our project.”
Amanda picks up the story, “At first I wasn’t sure if he was serious about it as it was a very different choice from all the other songs we were doing. But once we started working on it, it immediately became evident that it might be one of the strongest tracks on our album and both of us started developing it together.
In making the video I was inspired by Emma and the play, I filmed my parts in a very iconic and ancient historic venue in San Luis Potosí called ‘Cineteca Alameda’ which functions as a cultural centre. And I thought it would be fun to have Mick projected on the screen. Both of us work as narrators for this story and two actors represent the lyrics of the song in what it is supposed to be the play rehearsal. In the video all realities interact in one big dream or hallucination and the location and time line becomes slightly warped. I’m very happy with the result and I’m looking forward to finding out what people think.”
Mick Harvey and Amanda Acevedo take to the road for their debut tour next month. Starting in Germany, with dates confirmed in the UK for September, the duo will be joined J.P. Shilo and Berlin band Sometimes with Others for a musical phantasmagoria, presented as the Invisible Blue Unicorns – full details below…
Mexican singer and filmmaker Amanda Acevedo met Mick Harvey several years ago in Mexico City while Harvey was on tour with P.J. Harvey, but it wasn’t until 2021 that their current project burst into life, as the pair shared musical and other ideas across the oceans and through the ether between Australia and Mexico. After Acevedo initially suggested the collaboration, Harvey sent over some ideas and, Acevedo explains, “The first recording we did was amazing, our voices matched very well”. Harvey expands, “…little by little it started to feel like something that could be an important project and gradually became the dominant focus for the following 18 months”
Phantasmagoria in Blue is a 14-track album of duets, with Harvey and Acevedo bringing new life to songs which were sourced from existing duets, songs that were never intended as duets, translations from Spanish, songs sung in Spanish, and a sprinkling of original compositions. Thematically the album explores the perennial themes of mortality, love and mankind’s search for meaning as well as incorporating an enthused engagement with the enigmatic and mythical.
Following their initial long distance collaborative work, Harvey and Acevedo met up in Los Angeles so they could continue work in person. Harvey explains, “We aimed big, I wanted it to be a big production to match the level of ambition in the whole idea. I think it’s one of the best things I’ve been involved in, for a long time”. In LA they worked with Alain Johannes (Eleven, Mark Lanegan, Queens of the Stone Age), recording most of the vocals at Norm Block’s Happy Ending studios in Silverlake. Late in 2022 they continued work in Melbourne, while also playing some shows in Australia together with J.P. Shilo (Hungry Ghosts, Rowland S. Howard) who is also featured on the album playing guitar and miscellaneous instruments. Harvey finished mixing the album, and coordinated the mastering with local legend Mikey Young, before Acevedo returned to Mexico.
Phantasmagoria in Blue is lush and sweeping in its emotional content and full of nourishment for the imagination and the senses, reworking and reinterpreting songs from artists as varied as Tim Buckley, Luis Eduardo Aute, Sibylle Baier, Silvio Rodriguez and Pat Benatar. Says Avecedo, “It was an unlikely connection and a very unlikely situation but it started working and has developed into a good friendship that I’m very grateful for. The album is a testimony to this.”
Phantasmagoria in Blue tracklisting:
Creators of Rain
I Lost Something in the Hills
Song to the Siren
Milk & Honey
Love is a Battlefield
The Decadence of Lust
Phantasmagoria in 2
The Blue Unicorn
The One & Only (Phantasmagory)
You’ve Got Me Singing
Pre-order the album: https://mute.ffm.to/mhaa_pib