Paul McLaney to release new album with Raashi Malik

Award-winning New Zealand singer and songwriter, Paul McLaney (Gramsci, The Impending Adorations), has released the first single from his upcoming new album, The Old Traditions, released in collaboration with pianist Raashi Malik.

The single, Promises of Eden, explores the dichotomy that while ideals and ambitions can stay the same, the things they are attached to may not.

“A relationship may end but your perception of what love means to you remains. Most people strive to have core ideals by which they live their lives,” McLaney says.

The album by the duo, aka. McLaney and Malik, features 10 original songs written for piano and voice. The music, composed over a three years, aims to capture the essence of song writing.

Of the new album, McLaney says, “The Old Traditions has a number of genesis points, the main one being that over the course of making The Impending Adorations records, which are heavily electronica-based, I realised that I had finally achieved a body of work that actualised an emotional space I had only previously glimpsed. I was very much interested to see if that space could be achieved without the aid of electronic textures, hence the idea to take it back to the instruments that form the foundations of popular song over the last 400 years; the piano and the voice.

“With that in mind the next step in the journey was identifying what makes songs exist beyond their authorship - like hymns and carols; folk songs etc. In the midst of this I was working on Play On at the Pop-Up Globe where I set 10 of Shakespeare's most loved soliloquies to music. It was in that process that a very real epiphany occurred: the lyric is king. All of the enduring songs succeed primarily because they communicate a specific thought clearly.

“Raashi and I spoke at great length about the lineage of great piano arrangements from both the classical and popular song canon; the symmetry that makes a classic part feel so good under your fingers and make you want to approach it as a player.

“As the songs evolved I began to understand that the “old traditions” are fundamentally the emotions that drive us. No matter how far we evolve technologically, we are still hostage to the basic human emotions; fear, love. jealousy, grief, joy, sorrow,” McLaney says.

The Promises of Eden video, released today, has been choreographed by highly regarded choreographer and director Malia Johnson (Billy Elliot the Musical, Footnote, WOW).

In a recording and performance career spanning 20 years, Mclaney’s music offerings range from the acoustic music of his solo career, the rock and pop of Gramsci and the ambient electronica of The Impending Adorations. On top of this, he has an ever-expanding body of work composing for theatre (Play On, Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Pornography, K’ Rd Strip, Enlightenment).

Malik is an accomplished musician and songwriter. She is perhaps best known for her work as a singer with the band Rhombus, and her piano work with her husband, composer Rhian Sheehan. She released her first solo album in 2010, which was a fusion of Indian folk, jazz and soul music, recorded with musicians in India and New Zealand.

The Old Traditions will be released on vinyl in May.