Johannesburg-based English singer-songwriter Victoria Hume released her stunning EP, Closing on Lost Map Records, back in 2016 - seven sparse, wintry songs of fluttering piano and strings, bright guitars and beautifully naturalistic vocals. Closing arrived at Lost Map's door after it was passed to Pictish Trail by his musical accomplice, and partner-in-spandex Adem of Silver Columns. Adem had previously worked with Victoria on her 2013 project Delirium, a cycle of songs themed around the complex hallucinations patients have been known to experience during hospital-based intensive care (outside of music, Victoria works as an arts manager in health and medicine and as a researcher).
The first Delirium project had been based on conversations with people in the UK, and now Victoria has created a follow up album, Delirium Part II, with people in South Africa. Here she is with more information about the project - which you can listen to, below ...
For the last few years I’ve been writing music about delirium – a state often induced by being in hospital. I released a song cycle in 2013 based on conversations with people in the UK and then this year finished a new 45-minute composition based on conversations in South Africa.
Although there is a fragment of song in there, this new music is something different from the songwriting I’ve done so far – and is much more about found sound (a lot of which was recorded in hospital) and I suppose (though I’m reluctant to put it in this box) contemporary classical composition. The music is all available for free and (as much as music can be intended for anything) I hope it might help us understand delirium better, as well as what it can tell us about hospitals: how everything from treatment to architecture can work to dehumanise us – but also how moments of profound humanity can intervene at the loneliest and most troubled times to support us.
You can listen to Delirium Part II here
Delirium Part II was supported by the PRS Foundation for Music's Women Make Music scheme. The recording was performed by Victoria Hume, Chris Letcher, and Waldo Alexander and mixed by Chris Letcher. See victoriahume.com/delirium for more about the whole Delirium project.
We have a limited amount of copies of Victoria's Closing EP left in stock, in the Lost Map shop.
Written as Victoria was preparing to leave London for Johannesburg – a time of “heightened emotion and misdirection and a lack of an anchor” as she puts it – Closing captures a life in flux, from the sombre ‘Sell Everything’ written about the liberating effect of ridding oneself of material possessions, to a graceful meditation on loneliness in ‘Something Soft’, and the delicately rousing ‘Wild Wind’ with its sighing guitars and a stirring lyric about the necessity to take risks in life sometimes just to feel alive. The EP features a host of London and Johannesburg-based guest musicians, including sometimes Bat for Lashes and Phil Selway collaborator Quinta, South African songwriter and composer Chris Letcher (Hume’s husband), Andy Hamill (who has worked with Mercury Prize nominee Eska among many others), Josh Geffin, Christopher Reed and more.