You may know Annie Hart as a composer of synth-heavy, postmodern pop jams, both as one-third of Au Revoir Simone and, since 2017, a solo artist. However, her latest solo effort, Everything Pale Blue, which dropped this May, took Hart in a different direction. In the middle of lockdown the NYC singer/songwriter relocated to Aunt Karen’s Farm, in Oneonta, New York for an artist’s residency. Although she planned to record a pop record, that all changed when she found herself amidst the profundity of nature in the winter of 2020. Well, that and a trip to a local bookstore where she picked up Geeta Dayal’s 33 1/3 book on Eno’s Another Green World, followed by repeated listens to the album on iTunes. Between the sounds of Eno’s third album and the settings surrounding her, she decided to take on her first ambient album. The four tracks of Everything Pale Blue (which range from 6:11-12:18 in length) have Hart utilizing a few of her analog synths to produce something a little more sublime than is usually associated with pop music. Shortly after this holiday weekend Annie Hart will be taking her latest sounds on the road (alongside recently profiled The Natvral/Kip Berman of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart), kicking things off this coming Tuesday, November 30th, at The Lounge at World Café Live. Hart recently took some time to tell me about her latest sounds, some of her favorite sounds, and what can be expected when she plays World Café Live next week.
Izzy Cihak: First off, since this is a Philadelphia-based publication, I have to ask if you have any thoughts on the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection? You’ve played here a handful of times.
Annie Hart: I love Philly! I had a great concert there last time I came through at Boot and Saddle. It was so magical, and I felt that deep and true audience connection that keeps me on the road. Also: tahini shakes from Goldie’s. I don’t know why people go out of their way for cheesesteaks when the Goldie’s tahini shakes exist.
Izzy: And you told me that you’re currently “beyond slammed and working at full speed.” What are you currently working on, in addition to planning your upcoming live gigs?
Annie: I just scored a great new short film directed by and starring Hannah Heller, produced by Puloma Basu and starring Martin Starr, it’s so original and unique and really true to itself. I’m also taking a film scoring class at Juilliard, self-teaching ear training and counterpoint, taking care of two kids, and I do a little bookkeeping on the side.
Izzy: You released Everything Pale Blue earlier this year. Have you had any favorite reactions to the album so far? Obviously, as an ambient album, it’s a little bit different from your previous solo output.
Annie: My favorite was when my friend Mikki Halpin told me, “It took over the room and made everything else recede, it has a physical presence that’s like light coming in or a plant growing.”
Izzy: A lot of musicians have been telling me that they spent the pandemic revisiting their record collections. What have you been listening to a lot of recently, in addition to Brian Eno’s Another Green World (which I understand was a huge inspiration behind Everything Pale Blue)?
Annie: Jose Gonzales’ new record is on repeat in my house. I love that guy.
Izzy: Okay, so this is a personal question, but I saw Belle & Sebastian’s “Your Cover’s Blown” on one of your Spotify playlists and they’re my favorite band of all-time. Do you have any other favorite works of theirs? I know this is a bold statement, but I think Tigermilk is the best album of the 1990s.
Annie: How can you decide between Tigermilk and If You’re Feeling Sinister?
Izzy: This is a pretty big question, but I just realized you’ve been releasing music as a solo artist for almost half a decade now: What have been some of the highlights of your solo career so far?
Annie: I am really into film scoring and playing live. Both of which were very difficult for me, but I consider it a highlight of my life to be able to find my confidence and trust in my vision. Wow. That was a hard one.
Izzy: Finally, what can be expected of your upcoming show at World Café Live? Is it going to be an evening of ambient music, or can we expect some of your pop music as well?
Annie: I am going to be doing both! I’ll let people get hypnotized and then make them dance 🙂
*Get your tickets here.