Dan MichaelsonFirst Light
Working closely with orchestral arranger Arnulf Lindner, aka Skeleton Key, ‘First Light’ focuses on the every day first moment of consciousness before past, future, cynicism and memory come into focus. Though considered by Michaelson to be "the most unpleasant moment of any day" the opportunity to write at this time became the working practice for the record and, as the writing progressed, reflection on those moments informed the songs further.
Although ‘First Light’ finds Michaelson experimenting with a full orchestral palette, echoes of his inspirations and life long heroes still rise to the surface. Album opener ‘Careless’ evokes the sparse, haunted landscape of Townes Van Zandt’s ‘Kathleen’, the languid ‘Someone Else’s Dream’ recalls Lee Hazelwood’s lazy drawl, ‘Old Kisses’ is indebted to the intimate reflection of Leonard Cohen and ‘Don’t Let It Pass’ summons the melodic build of ‘Bryter Layter’ period Nick Drake. Recorded over three weeks at The Premises Studios in London, ‘First Light’ features eight violins, four violas, two cellos, two double basses and the odd flash of trombone, all constantly shifting above, below and either side of Michaelson's staple vocal style.
As well as soundtracking the third season of the BAFTA-winning BBC series Detectorists, starring Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones, Michaelson is currently scoring Stephanie Wang-Breal's feature length documentary ‘Blowin' Up’. The story of an innovative human trafficking court in Queens, N.Y, the film follows the compassionate judge who runs it and the women who pass through its doors every day.