Music

Carmen Villain announces new album ‘Only Love From Now On’ for Smalltown Supersound with lead single ‘Gestures

US-born, Norwegian-Mexican artist and producer Carmen Villain announces her fourth album, Only Love From Now On, out February 25th, 2022 on Smalltown Supersound, and today presents its lead single “Gestures,” a dub-infused, percussive cosmic wanderer featuring ECM artist and Supersilent member, Arve Henriksen, on trumpet. The culmination of a build-up that began with a turn in sound evident on 2019’s Both Lines Will Be Blue (Smalltown Supersound) — and further explored on subsequent releases Affection In A Time Of Crisis (2020, Longform Editions) and Sketch For Winter IX: Perlita (2021, Geographic North) — Only Love From Now On presents Villain’s aesthetic blossoming into something unexpected, benevolent in its composure and altogether luxuriant in its sensuality.

Villain, whose real name is Carmen Hillestad, has spent the last nine years and four albums gently unraveling song into the sound of emotional impulse. She’s collaborated with the likes of Jenny Hval and Parris – appearing on the latter’s new debut album – and Biosphere, DJ Python and others have contributed remixes for her. Her journey is artful musical deconstruction yet also spiritual growth. Listening to Only Love From Now On is simultaneously comforting and alluringly strange, with Hillestad engaging themes both philosophical and occasionally abstract. Hillestad describes it as “wishing to maintain a sense of careful optimism for the future, while on the cusp of something unknown.”

Employing a panoply of instrumentation – such as woodwinds – field recordings, the studio, jam, and careful composition, Hillestad invokes a conversation with sound that occurs in her deliberate attempts to experiment with new methods, like granular synthesis, for her music-making. The emotional tenor of her music is clear and purposeful. It makes sense that her key musical touchstones are dub, ambient, and cosmic jazz – flexible vehicles for tranquil wonder.

Only Love From Now On is fueled by the sense of scale in feeling small in the face of things so large, the contemplation of how the biggest impact we can have is in the people close to us, the attempt to make sure that impact is a positive one, and the choice to try to focus on love instead of fear. If all of that reveals a quietly resistant political strain in her work, this is also emphasized in the visual artists she references with track titles. “Gestures” refers to Hannah Wilke’s video piece of the same name, questioning the female body as objects of the male gaze.

Listen to Carmen Villain’s “Gestures” (with Arve Henriksen)
Video single

While Hillestad exposes only what she wants us to see, even through a layer of mystique it’s clear that it’s an honest expression. Only Love From Now On reveals the restless search for truth, tenderness, and self-discovery of its maker.

artist Carmen Villain
album Only Love From Now On
single Gestures (with Arve Henriksen) OUT NOW
label Smalltown Supersound
date 25th February 2022
album pre-order
cat. # STS399

Tracklist
01. Gestures with Arve Henriksen
02. Future Memory
03. Liminal Space
04. Only Love From Now On with Johanna Scheie Orellana
05. Subtle Bodies
06. Silueta
07. Portals