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Hite - Light of a Strange Day (Six Degrees) 

Add Date: 03/28
Focus Track: 1 & 7
FCC: 3 & 4
Formats: Americana, Triple A & World

Artist Info: Lovely and unsettling. Brightly arranged and shot through with darkness. Rooted in folk yet still using the language of art rock and electronica. The artist Hite revels in these contradictions in her striking debut album Light Of A Strange Day.

Hite is someone we’ve met before: she is the singer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Julia Easterlin, who collaborated with the famed Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Toure on their album Touristes.

The new moniker marks a new direction for Hite: as Julia Easterlin, she made her initial reputation by looping and layering her voice to create her music. On Touristes, she began to move away from what she calls “the looping artist pigeonhole.” This record, Light Of A Strange Day, she says, “is a natural progression, away from loops and into more flexible, expressive forms of storytelling.

Hite is New York-based, but she grew up in Georgia. “I grew up hearing a lot of southern Appalachian folk music,” she explains. “Maybe that doesn’t seem to fit with Björk and the rest of the things I listen to, but when I open my mouth to sing, one of those two things comes out.” And in the process of arranging these songs, sometimes both of those styles share the same space. Which brings up the album’s major storyline.

Working initially with the multi-instrumentalist and producer Shahzad Ismaily (Lou Reed, Carla Kihlstedt, Marc Ribot, Sam Amidon, etc.), Hite began to flex her muscles as a producer and arranger.  “I’d been in the studio with other producers before,” she says, “and I was always the only woman in the room. Without fully realizing it, I often conceded creative decisions to whatever guy was at the recording console.”  But Shahzad encouraged her to trust her instincts – with the result that a lot of the songs on Light Of A Strange Day are first takes, and the arrangements were often done on the fly, a layer at a time.