Dutch producer, songwriter and musician Luwten (Tessa Douwstra) today releases two new tracks, ‘Call Me In’ (Arte Session) and ‘Full Well’ (Acoustic), available now through Glassnote Records. The two new acoustic versions – ‘Call Me In’ originally recorded for leading French arts channel atre.tv during Eurosonic 2020 – are lifted from Luwten’s soon to be announced sophomore album. Stream ‘Call Me In’ (Arte Session) and ‘Full Well’ (Acoustic) now on all platforms 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 solo abstract pop project – which fuses organic instrumentation with field recordings and sampling – so enamoured was she with the creative process of “working in a total vacuum”. Her EP of late 2020 ‘Door’ bore the unambiguous title that reflected, in Tessa’s own words; “A study of a perfectionist who acknowledges that everything’s in a constant state of flux”.
In turn, Douwstra’s new material for 2021 marks a determined move towards opening up a little, allowing a little fresh air, some outside influence, to rush in underneath the door left ajar. Speaking about the ideas of agency, control and freedom – increasingly applicable to the global crises of 2020/2021 – which have preoccupied her recent creative processes, Tessa notes; “How much of being alone is because it’s helpful? How much of being alone is because you’re afraid? Does being alone help being authentic? Or is looking for authenticity something you could or even should look for with others? I noticed I’m writing a lot about thinking versus feeling and being alone versus being together with other people. I love the idea of music as self-exploration. For the maker as well as the listener.”
The latter idea bears out in the uncompromising honesty of ‘Full Well’, which scrutinises just how far we truly hold ourselves to account for our behaviours. How many times do we instead chose to dismiss regrettable mistakes, to simply, as Douwstra phrases it; “Throw it on a pile and leave it there, set it on fire and go somewhere”? By contrast, the quietly propulsive ‘Full Well’ animates the covert goosebumps of the nascent stages of a new relationship. Speaking about the track – inspired by the minimal music Tessa grew up fascinated with (a collection where Steve Reich, Olafur Eliasson, Teebs and Radiohead were as instructive as the resonant voices of Frank Ocean, D’Angelo, Feist and Solange) – Tessa observes; “It’s about being in love with someone and assuming the other person is in love with you too but nobody’s spilling the beans. Such an exciting experience. You want it to last forever because not being sure means not being turned down as well. I wanted the song to have the same vibe: a long ramp up that just keeps on building and building until your impatience gets the best of you.”
The release of ‘Full Well’ and ‘Call Me In’ today arrives close on the tail of the most recent episode in Luwten’s self-curated and presented podcast series, ‘Drafts’, in which she talks with other musicians about their creative processes & inspirations. New episode #4 sees Luwten joined by Belgian-Caribbean artist Charlotte Adigéry, and you can stream their conversation from here.