News, Reviews

Humanist Signs To Bella Union & Releases New Track “The Beginning (My God)”

February 20, 2024
photo credit: Katja Mayer

Humanist Signs To Bella Union

Shares New Track “The Beginning (My God)”

Bella Union are thrilled to announce the signing of Humanist, the recording alias of multi-instrumentalist and frequent Mark Lanegan collaborator Rob Marshall, who will release his upcoming second album later this year via the label.

The Beginning (My God)” is the first track from the album and features a beautiful, haunted vocal from award-winning American musician/poet/playwright Carl Hancock Rux, who has previously collaborated with David Holmes and Portishead and a blistering saxophone solo from Terry Edwards (Tom Waits, PJ Harvey).

An extraordinary piece of music that builds on top of a brooding, deep march, with a fever-dream chant, the accompanying video is a dark, hypnotic assembly of arresting religious iconography and visuals where spiritual rituals play out. Listen here –

Rob Marshall on “The Beginning (My God)”:

“It feels like our need for a sense of permanence is somehow ingrained into us all, and the deep-rooted fears of our own earthly mortality is why we seek to “taste” some sense of a deity, to confirm a greater purpose.  Whether “our God” is something inside of us, or some other-worldly entity we worship, as long as we don’t harm each other in the name of it, I really only see that search for something greater  as part of the natural human condition – for me, this is what ‘The Beginning’ is about.

I felt the energy I’d captured in the music and the chords was something of an unearthing – the beginning of something greater than itself. I had the title ‘The Beginning’ from the first draft – perhaps I always knew it would be the opening of the record and pave the way for the rest of the music to come through?

I reached out to Carl Hancock-Rux, who I consider an incredible spoken word poet and singer, and his vocal struck me as sheer brilliance. These creative partnerships always elevate my initial concepts to undreamed of realms that I could never hope to ascend to on my own. Like a biblical lamentation, a gospel sermon that pierces the heart. I love to work with Carl for the way he manages to do that; even a single line.

The track is nothing short of astonishing. A brooding release that devours you, the darker atmosphere and the commanding vocal notes, you can embrace the intensity mixing through the currents of this vital track. The lyrics haunt the fierce arrangement, looping and punching the severity of the notes and the emotive delivery through to the core of this expressive soundscape. The textures take on this brash shape, injecting a harshness into the vision whilst the harmonies hook you.

Humanist’s upcoming second album features the vocal talents of Dave Gahan, Ed Harcourt, Isobel Campbell and many more. Humanist are currently on a European tour with Depeche Mode this month.

Humanist shows with Depeche Mode:

13 February – Berlin – Mercedes Benz Arena

15 February – Berlin – Mercedes Benz Arena

17 February – Hamburg – Barclays Arena

20 February – Berlin – Mercedes Benz Arena

22 February – Prague – 02 Arena

24 February – Prague – 02 Arena

27 February – Lodz – Atlas Arena

29 February – Lodz – Atlas Arena

Humanist’s self-titled debut album was a swirling Niagara of fuzzed-out melody and noise; visceral, cinematic, mesmerising, a big, triumphant album featuring vocal contributions from Mark LaneganDave GahanMark Gardener (Ride) and Joel Cadbury (UNKLE), among others. A soaring record of huge ambition, it was Rob’s first solo project after his band Exit Calmsplit, and also the first record he’d ever fully produced. It was something of a showcase, a powerhouse, and it sounded like Marshall could smell victory – but just as his masterwork was ready to go, Covid 19 stopped everything dead in its tracks, a tour was cancelled, and the world sank into a long limbo…

Not long after the limbo of lockdown, the untimely death of Marshall’s key collaborator, Mark Lanegan, with whom he shared a deep and ongoing musical friendship, came as a tragic blow. Marshall wrote and produced six tunes for Lanegan on their first collaboration together, the much-celebrated album ‘Gargoyle’ (2017 Heavenly Records). Lanegan’s next album ‘Somebody’s Knocking’ (Heavenly Records October 2019) featured six more co-writes from Marshall. The first tracks they ever worked on together were included on the first Humanist album.

Marshall has channelled much of this anguish and intensity on his upcoming second album… More info on this will be coming soon!

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