Skin with Bat for Lashes

14 Jul

bat for lashesCurated by BBC Radio 1’s Gemma Cairney and composer Llywelyn ap Myrddin, Body of Songs is a project that explores the human body through music. The Music Court will profile each track in the compilation. The final four tracks will be announced this summer, and an album will follow. The concept is described best on their website:

“A collection of 10 songs by some of the UK’s most talented artists, inspired by the body’s organs.

Hidden from view, suctioned together in dark flesh, the organs are the core of our physical functioning, and our emotional and feeling world.

Each artist explores an organ with the help of experts, to find out how it works and unlock its mysteries and myths. Along the way they ask profound questions about their own lives; about illness and disease, and age and suffering.”

More information can be found at bodyofsongs.co.uk.

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The sixth installment of the Body of Songs project examines the skin- the largest organ, as you are told by your ten-year-old cousin every time you see him. Bat for Lashes took this subject, and very much made it her own. The sparse instrumentation amplifies her soft, brooding vocals, and give this track weight.

Bat for Lashes, Natasha Kahn, takes a poetic route to describe the skin, calling the body “an old, good friend,” and connecting them a metaphorical level. Yet, the lyrics also show a very literal admiration for the skin.

“I’ve blushed and I have bruised…
I’ve bled and I have healed…
Held babes in my arms”

The song touches on the omnipresence of the skin, and the importance that it holds for the rest of the body. Holding together your nerves and withstanding the wear and tear of aging all seems like reason enough to appreciate it. Like many of the other artists for this project, Kahn was able to delve deep into the near-spiritual perfection of the human body, and sang praises that were very tangible. Dave Okumu also sang about his heart which had survived electrocution. Ghostpoet added an actual conversation with a doctor about the liver into his track. And sometime soon, four more songs will be added to the project; stay tuned.

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