Dutch producer, songwriter and musician Luwten (Tessa Douwstra) today releases a new single and video ‘Sleeveless’, the latest to emerge from her forthcoming new album ‘Draft’ due out April 30, 2021 through Glassnote Records. Stream ‘Sleeveless’ on all platforms & watch the new self-directed video from here.


Luwten takes its name from a Dutch word which simply means ‘place without wind’. Amsterdam-based Tessa Douwstra adopted it as the moniker for her abstract pop project, so enamoured was she with the creative process of “working in a total vacuum”. Whilst her 2020 EP ‘Door’ was in Tessa’s own words; “A study of a perfectionist who acknowledges that everything’s in a constant state of flux”, the material on ‘Draft’ marks a determined move towards opening up a little, allowing a little fresh air, some outside influence, to rush in. 

New release ‘Sleeveless’ reaches for the simplicity of an existence without pretence. Speaking about the interplay between the uneasiness which plays into the track & her self-directed video to accompany it, Tessa notes; On Sleeveless I sing of a world in which we stop hiding ourselves. Life gives us many things to hide behind: the things we say, the things we buy, what we choose to show, the expectations we and others have of us. I think I have done quite a lot of hiding myself but most of the time I’ve found it to be tiring. It doesn’t feel like an honest way to live and it can actually deprive us of living freely.I was thinking about how being naked might be the best physical equivalent to being honest. Nothing to hide. I never expressed myself like I’m doing in this video. It feels vulnerable, posed, natural, strong, weak, ugly and beautiful at the same time. And that’s just perfect.

Across ‘Draft’, Douwstra probes ideas of agency, control and freedom, all increasingly applicable in the bewildering climate of 2020/2021. Luwten transmutes different sounds together with quizzical warmth: taking cues from minimal touchstones including Steve Reich, Olafur Eliasson and Teebs, Tessa’s production laces field recordings and organic noise with electronic sounds and melodic live instrumentation. On ‘Draft’, these productions – guided by a spirit of intuition and improvisation, which Tessa likens to ‘dressing up as a kid’ – tell as much of a story as Luwten’s compassionate vocals (heavily influenced by the pared back resonance of D’Angelo, Solange & Frank Ocean) and soulful lyricism. 

Douwstra digs deeper into these ideas on her self-curated and presented podcast series, ‘Drafts’, in which she discusses process & inspiration with other musicians – the latest episode sees Luwten joined by Belgian-Caribbean artist Charlotte Adigéry, with their conversation now streaming from here.|