Bess Atwell Light Sleeper

Label
Real Kind Records
Released
24th May 2024

Format Info

LP - Indies Only Trans Pink

“You called yourself broken, but that’s just what people are, that’s how the light gets in,” sings Bess Atwell in the opening moments of Light Sleeper, before gentle hums of strings and shuffling snares make way for the Brighton singer’s voice at full pelt, singing with a newfound rawness.

“Light Sleeper is about the willingness to feel,” the Brighton singer-songwriter explains. “Somewhere along the line I had become very afraid of feeling.”

A huge part of this exploratory new era was Aaron Dessner, who produced Light Sleeper. His isolated cabin studio Long Pond, in Hudson Valley, was once Bess’ desktop background, but she never thought she would end up star-gazing on its veranda and noodling away on the same instruments used by her heroes, not to mention a certain pop star…

The immediate trust between the pair clicked the moment Atwell walked through the doors of the iconic recording space; Dessner showed her around and then promptly left her alone to play on the many instruments at the heart of her favourite The National songs. As Atwell puts it, they seemed to speak the same musical language. “I trust his ear and I knew we had the same vision” she says.

Since the release of ‘Already, Always’ Atwell has been through a number of personal transformations including tapering off antidepressants, after “years of avoiding it”. Reflections on her upbringing and re-evaluations of some of her experiences led to a autism diagnosis in May 2023, which has helped her to make sense of many different moments.