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Event Info

Hifi Sean & David McAlmont
King Tut's Wah Wah Hut
Doors: 19:30
Age: 14+. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult over 18.
Standard Buy now

Hifi Sean and David McAlmont release their sophomore album Daylight on the first day of Summer, June 20th, 2024. It follows their acclaimed 2023 debut, Happy Ending. The exhilarating suite of twelve songs on Daylight celebrates, expresses and explores the colours of summer. It will be the first of two albums from the duo in 2024 with the nocturnal sister album, Twilight, released on the first day of Winter. Daylight represents a significant moment in Hifi Sean and David McAlmont’s partnership.  It was produced in a remarkable burst of collaborative energy, with both composers channelling and sharing. The writing, at times, seemed to guide the material with its own momentum.   The sound evolved within a specific set of deep influences, points of reference and inspiration to both artists for many years: club sounds, gospel, new wave, synth pop and soul. Not just sounds of the past reproduced, but contemporary, crystal fresh, future-facing and utopian in spirit and intellect. These are influences that have been cherished, dug into, lived in, loved, empathised with down to the bones, to the molecular specifics, to a level where emotion is the nexus of everything. Inside that dedication and focus, there are communications, encounters and rewards to disturb the very fabric of a listener’s reality: frustration, hope, love, loss, memory, the resilience of the spirit. Sounds that hold comfort and solace close; music that arouses joy, sustains elation, living and wild abandon. All accumulated into a sound that is so alive, a living thing.   The album’s twelve songs glow with this confidence, each a bold, concise statement. The eponymous opening track, essentially a prelude to Daylight’s spectrum of melodic and thematic pre-occupations, is a circling mantra: “Embrace. Daylight. Sunshine. Dance.” Joyously electronic and gorgeously invigorated by a Nigerian gospel choir, the chant was written from experiments using AI to research ideas related to sunrise. Pitching and repeatedly modifying questions, a series of words began to re-occur, signalling the musical and lyrical metrics that illuminate the album.   Daylight propels the listener along with an irresistible energy, a giddy pace instilled in the embryonic beginnings of the songs themselves. Sean describes the writing process as, “A kind of creative explosion that happened half-way through the album. It felt like we’d set out on a course. Like we knew where the ship was steering. Then suddenly there was a change. It was like ‘This is what we should be doing. This is it.’ From that point on it just kind of erupted. This kind of synergy, this spark, and from there the writing took off.”   The new direction in production came in part from a surprising event. Sean recently rediscovered a cassette recording of electronic music composed on a Roland SH101 when he was 14 years old (some of the production on Daylight comes from this very same synth). “Being asked by a Greek label to release it as an album out of the blue felt like this huge curve from the past leading to what I was doing now.” Sean says, “That gave me so much confidence, I thought, actually, I’m just going to go with what I did when I was 14 and be happy. This is my palette, and I’m just going to take it all the way this time.”   David also recalls this energy, “There was a period of writing, and a lot of material in place and then something different started to happen and it was fun!” For him, the album is also a shift in sensibility and mood from their debut release. “Happy Ending erred towards that sort of dystopian future. You know, like the future is looking dark. But that is not what Daylight is. We got over it! Happy Ending was more seductive. This is more BANG! The songs end, and then the excitement begins again, immediately! I love that.”   A rush of tracks evokes the shimmering haze of summer days, hot and balmy, by turns languid and energised. The songs tumble out one after another like a sequence of bright, dazzling pop flashes.  Sun Come Up is a blistering baroque epic of super-compressed mystic pop. Its flower-power punk “Oh oh oh…” collapses back into waves of dreamy contemplation, “Waiting for the sunshine while the rain… every time… witnesses to the dark, sun come up, sun come up now…” David invokes dawn’s symbolic promise, his voice climbing skywards, dissolving into revelatory shimmers. For Meantime, David recalls the decade of British music he missed whilst living in South America, and celebrates catching up, referencing GMT’s place in the solar cycle theme, but suggesting “Our ‘Meantime’ is more psychic than physic.”   Golden Hour is draped in legendary Ballroom attitude, “The groove brings back all my Ibizas and Manhattans” says David. “Sometimes heady moments of partying feel euphoric, like they’ll last forever, but reality bites with stinging disillusionment.” Living Things is philosophical and transcendent traversal, an epic journey. Being with those who feel happy when you are down can be a great comfort. “I don’t have good thoughts to think…” David sings wistfully, but it’s temporary, “So let’s big up the living.”   Celebrate is a sleek, muscular Italo Disco odyssey pulsing restlessly in its own otherworldly groove. A sultry Barry White impersonator (that Sean found on the dark web!) intones “Take it slo-mo”, while David proclaims, “My instinct for survival is to celebrate,” a powerful dancefloor affirmation. If Sun Come Up is the blinking, playful yellows of the sunrise, The Show is sunsets burning reds, a pyrotechnic finale, a great brooding sci-fi opus. Lavish synth arpeggios climb in parallel with David’s towering refrain, as his falsetto counsels, “Ooh you have to let the show go on”.   The genesis of many of these songs came from a single afternoon of Sean’s experimentation with a new form, “I had this day, an incredible sunny day, where I wrote a series of thirty to sixty second sound bites based on sounds or drum beats or chord progressions. I must have done about 20 that day. I played David all these little pieces of music on a car journey we made the following day, and his response was ‘That one’s great. That one’s…’ I started taking the ideas he liked and began embellishing them, turning them into full tracks. I would say six maybe or seven of the songs on Daylight came from that one brainstorming session.”   For David the collaborative process is straightforward, “Just meeting up with another composer and doing what I do, responding to what he inspires in me. When I get music from Sean, I look forward to the next three days of just trying out ideas.” Just before David and Sean began working together in 2016, David had started saving an epic list of involuntary thoughts and impressions on his iPhone, “Unvarnished things that I think when I’m getting home late at night, going to the university in the morning, that I see in the park, after seeing a friend for the first time in a long time.” This writing technique, ’patented’ on one of Happy Ending’s songs, he calls ‘Real Thoughts in Real Time.’     This 8-year repository, this constellation of captured thoughts, “They’re all just sitting there, and every time Sean came up with a new melody and we were thinking about the daylight theme, I kept going back to my phone and could always find something. Like Meantime, I’d long jotted ‘It’s a sophisticated simple song’ into my Notes app, and then overlooked it for years, but then I heard Sean’s Meantime arrangement and that lyric suddenly made sense.”   “There were lots of references to summery things that I hadn’t used. The ‘Sweet smell of ceanothus’ line had been in my phone since the beginning, but nothing that Sean gave me made me think of it until Summery, and then I was like ‘Ooh… I can use the ‘wild geranium,’ and the ‘sweet smell of…’ lines. That’s it. It can take days to get the words in the right order.”   On closing track, The Show, which David refers to as the catharsis moment of Daylight’s circular suite, he recalls, “When Sean heard the lyrics he asked if it was about the industry. There was probably some point where I might have felt frustrated or something, and I thought ‘Does the music feel like a lie?’ But then Sean kicks in with that groove. Why would you want to have anything else there but THAT in that moment? Especially after you’ve just sung, ‘And now you know it’s just a part of the show.’ BAM! It’s a good, positive exchange.”   David is assured on how these writing interplays come about, how the dynamic operates, “Sean and I make good music. We’ve been around a while, both long in the tooth. We know what we like. Sharing it with each other isn’t embarrassing. We have surprising things in common and we don't operate from the treadmill. Which is to say, we are not doing it in the matrix of A&R and all of that. We’re two seasoned musicians in our own space, making music. To me, this album sounds like the sort of thing people like that would make”.   Alan Miller 2024

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