Saturday, March 19, 2016

"Wild Beast!" + "A Witness To Beauty"... Completing the Triptych (coming August 2016)

HUSK is a week old! My album is now officially out on Cdbaby and Spotify! Soon to hit Amazon!

So, naturally, I am in deep with my 134 voice memos from songs written in between songwriting and production for HUSK. A lot of upheaval means a lot of songs. And thats what I got.

Production was actually pretty uncomfortable for me because the part I'm best at is over...So I continued to write songs to quench the creation thirst that runs rampant....thus the 134 voice memos to now wade through.

flash forward:

These last two days, post the last of my shows/release of the album/final breakup/birthday celebrations etc has been something like this....Wake up: try not to think thoughts, drink decaf coffee (so as not to agitate inner beast) while walking on the lake.  Come home-try not to let my thoughts go to anger or heartache. Ease my body into something comfortable-nap/bath/clean some mundane, random object in my house. Make a call to cancel whatever plan I had that hour that now seems too overwhelming/pointless. Repeat X3 or until about 5pm at which point I sit with my music and start to navigate.

While walking, I am often listening to various playlists that encompass sounds, materials, textures that I'm considering/fawning over. I consider my typical emotions at different times of the day, how sounds and different daylights effect me and how my mood transfers to said sounds and how I hear and receive them.

I build up some anxiety in anticipation of creating, then go through some mantras, listen to some guided mediations, take a bath, relax, cook, lose thought.... Consider why, in this body, in this life, anxiety rushes into the open spaces...when I leave open spaces....(never empty-but open) why it bursts in with some purpose-veiled distraction...

side note: 

I have a new goal for myself.... to only create in moments of ease-or when I'm not agitated (this is a huge goal because I am nearly never comfortable). Just to see if the results are more pleasing. So I will now meditate until I reach that state-then begin and only go for as long as I can stay, honestly,  in that state. Its bizarre but often I must reset my mind every 5 minutes or so as not to let my thoughts runaway down some horrifying path. (often to feelings of betrayal or just plain sadness-my personal beast)

So! To the point!

"Wild Beast!" and "A Witness To Beauty" Is something of a double album completing the triptych that HUSK began. 

(the urgent timing of these is a combination of the intense feeling that they must be done by summer otherwise they (their essence-muses-wherever songs come from) will disappear into the ether, never to return....... and that I begin grad school in the Fall, so these songs need to get done and out before I start a very intense study of Music Composition for the screen at Columbia College)


With "Wild Beast!" I will be exploring the violent nature/emotions that desire awakens. The aggressive needs-the completely terrifying beast that takes hold of you and drags you by the collar through humiliating altercations whilst you are constantly reminded by the beast itself that you have no control over your emotions until further notice.... Until he/she, hopefully, drops you in pursuit of a new victim...

Emotions like a Chinese finger trap that feed themselves into greater and greater hysteria.

On a scholastic note...I was deeply inspired by the setting and themes of nordic mytholgy- specifically Odin and his Ravens: Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory). (ravens had been following me around all winter-these are very intense creature to have watching/swooping/circling you)

In Norse myths, the Gods play both sides. Odin and Loki grant favors/victory to the honorable and dishonorable...just to...i dunno...mimic the brutality of nature? For a culture in which a man's survival  is based completely on his honor and the validity of his word, this is extremely traumatizing/amazing.

Anyway I love the wild feeling of those times, the stark setting, the necessity for a strong survival instinct and the culture's connection with nature and the BEASTS OF MYTHOLOGY.

My friends and I have been recently discussing the feeling of having a beast inside that is mostly guarded and sometimes dormant but very much at the edge of his/her seat-with fantasies of wrath and destruction in the name of self protection (all lies)... This album is lighting that up. Think lamps not fires.

Orchestration and texture wise, I plan to play with electronics and explore more of my blues influence.


"A Witness To Beauty"  will explore more of my jazz roots, I'm still split in some dichotomy of my musical influences...I'm sure they seep into one another from an outsiders perspective, but from the inside of my brain/guts they still need separate canvases.

It occurred to me, suddenly, while taking time to walk through the Columbia Contemporary Photography Museum before my grad school meet and greet, that maybe We stay busy because we are horrified at the grandness of our life. I
 realized in that moment, that when I don't have my hands in something beautiful, I'm terrified for my life.

Thus, this exploration begins!

*these are my musings during the creation process-everything maybe completely change.

All photos by the one, the only... Matthew Gregory Hollis
I am feeling this one as the Wild Beast! cover

Friday, March 11, 2016

HUSK release

         Whoa. Big gratitude.

HUSK, my first album of original songs is out for the world today!

Click here to purchase and write a review! 

I have been performing, writing, and recording for more than ten years, yet this is my debut album. HUSK is an intensely personal, post-apocalyptic emotional transformation, which closely mirrors the transformation/life cycle of a moth.

A. Ravenous Larvae:
       1.  Apocalyptic State of Mind
       2. Persistent Hum of Desire
       3. I'm Always Losing Myself (In Someone Else)

B. Cocoon:
        4. Find My Hand In The Dark
        5. Bombyx
        6. Desire, Desire, Desire

C. Bashing Against the Light Until Certain Death
         7. I'm Still In Love With You
         8. Your Inconvenient Love
         9. Maybe It's The End of Love
        10. Now That We're Not in Love

HUSK: (n) The hardened protective layers that shelter a gelatinous being for the duration of his/her metamorphosis.
              (adj) A quality of vocal production that is granulated, raw and worn from excessive misadventures.

MOTH: (n) Nature's most incredible metamorphosizer.
              (n) A winged, nocturnal messenger from the spirit world that navigates not by sight but by inner knowing.

I wrote these songs in a folk/country style to pay homage to my musical roots. Please enjoy as you partake in this shared journey.


All songs written by Hope Littwin.

Guitar, Vocals: Hope Littwin
Drums: Alex Atchley
Bass: Matthew Salvatore Coglianese
Violin: Mallory Linehan

Recorded by James Teitelbaum at Tribeca Flashpoint.

Overdubs and tracks 9 and 10 recorded by Caleb Gray

Mixed by Caleb Gray and Robert Littwin

Produced by: Hope and Robert Littwin


My Brother!

Many of you know my brother, Robert Littwin and have benefited from his enthusiasm, encouragement and support of Chicago's arts community. The world is undoubtedly a better place because of him and it is because of his support and encouragement that this album has become a reality. He has been the most patient, the most loyal and the most encouraging voice through this journey. I won the genealogical lottery by being born his little sister.

My Band!

Alex Atchley: Devoted, inventive, attentive, always going the extra mile to make subtle shifts in arrangements to serve the music. Always introducing me to new artists and new possibilities
Matthew Coglianese: A funky bassist with a heart of gold, a stand up human and musician who is always down to experiment and expand.
Mallory Linehan: A goddess. An incredible violinist and artist that can style hop like no other. A sharp mind, always positive, and always playful

Caleb Gray: Devoted engineer and trustworthy friend, dedicated a huge amount of time and expertise to making these tracks extra special. 

James Teitelbaum: An incredibly encouraging voice and a stellar engineer with a heart of gold and a sharp ear who organized the studio time and made the space and equiptment resources possible. You are a true blue.

Tina Radler: filmaker extraordinaire who reimagined these songs into film. My Viennese soul sister.

Matthew Gregory Hollis: Photographer. Genius. Album cover artist. He makes it seem so easy.

My first guitar teacher Scott Emmons who gave me Joni Mitchell's entire library at my second lesson and encouraged me to start writing songs. A mentor and a friend for life.

Keith and Katy Morrison and Manuel Garrido Lecca for letting me cut my teeth in the studio as a teen and being voices of encouragement.

My Parents Helen Bordon, Nestor Bordon and Michael Littwin for their steadfast support and encouragement