Alex Henry Foster ft. Momoka Share “Nocturnal Candescence” Single, ‘Kimiyo’ Due April 26

Alex Henry Foster is a Canadian musician, author, producer, and composer, formerly the frontman for Juno Awards nominee Your Favorite Enemies. Alex Henry Foster released his first solo album Windows in the Sky in 2018. The album is a “dreamy blast of post-rock” (NME) that “brings to mind artists like Hammock and Asche & Spencer with heaping helpings of Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky”. His second album consists of a live reinterpretation of his solo material, recorded at a sold-out performance at the 40th Festival de Jazz de Montreal. Ben Lemelin is a Canadian multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and music producer. He and Foster have partnered on many projects together. Lemelin is part of The Long Shadows, Foster’s band, and was bass player in Your Favorite Enemies. Momoka, a Japanese artist from Tokyo, established herself in Montreal 10 years ago and has been a consistent collaborator with AHF, and is also an artist in her own right. She has a solo record set to be released in early 2025.

Describing the single, Alex Henry Foster says, “The song conveys the profound emotions of loss, hopelessness, and personal surrender in the context of self-abandonment. It’s an inner scream designed to reach others when we feel invisible to a world that never stops spinning for anyone’s pain to be seen, to be shared. It’s the resilience of being, of believing in another morning shine. It’s the reminiscence of traditional Japanese songs of longing, “哀傷歌 (aishōka)”, defined by mourning, contemplation, and faith in better tomorrows.”

Speaking on the LP ‘Kimiyo’,  “I have always been looking for a pretext or an excuse to work with Momoka. She’s got a very unique spirit, and she’s a very inspiring and insightful person.We have a common view about life in general and spirituality in particular, but most of all, she is a fantastic artist for whom I have the utmost admiration. When it became obvious to me that I would be in no way capable of singing or speaking on the songs we had sketched, Momoka was in my opinion the only person able to transcend the project’s spirit. The poetry of Voyage à la Mer was to be the core holding the whole project together, but I wanted Momoka to make her own interpretation of the lyrical undercurrent and to express herself in her native tongue, so she wouldn’t have to be my voice or try to emulate what my words might convey. We set the canvas, laid down the color palettes, but it was for her to express herself and be the painting,” says Foster.

Alex Henry Foster has crafted four different creative entities; the albums Kimiyo and A Measure of Space and Sounds, the film Voyage à la Mer, and the in-public conversations & live musical improvisation affair Of Flashes and Other Currents, all due to be released over the span of 2024.


Exclusive Q&A:

1. Can you explain the songwriting and production processes associated with “Nocturnal Candescene”? How did Momoka’s interpretation contribute?

It’s a record that has been crafted in a very singular way. Not only was it made of pure organic collaboration, but it was intentionally “free” from the limiting structures usually imposed by the studio environment. I did it at home, in my writing environment. The house itself is isolated on a mountain located in the Highlands of Virginia. The surrounding sounds of the forest can not only be heard all over the songs but they became an intersecting part of the music itself and its emotional journey. I didn’t want technical perfection, I wanted humanly-charged sensations designed by authenticity, to convey the vulnerabilities and resilience of the song. You cannot fake that type of affective abandonment. You have to live it and to incarnate its very nature to become the sentiments themselves. So being surrounded by endless forest and nocturnal life provided a soundscape clashing with the inner silence we tend to take refuge in in times of despair, which is the undertone of the song.

Momoka was a phenomenal force, both creative and personal. I wasn’t able to speak and was still greatly physically impaired during the whole project, which took place following a life-threatening surgery I had undergone a few months prior. So she found a very unique way of truly carrying my voice within her emotional let go, by being so deeply invested in the project. I witnessed her becoming Kimiyo, which is particularly felt on Nocturnal Candescence. We could sense just how much self-abandonment there was on her part. It’s incredibly palpable all over the voyage she invited us to partake in with her, radiating life through her every step.

2. Is there a specific experience or moment that this song was inspired by?

The whole record is centered on the story of a young Japanese woman (Kimiyo) I met about 10 years ago when I was filming all over Japan. She shared her story with me, which was compelling to me. Both troubling and uplifting, it’s a unique story while being one of a multitude. It’s intimately personal while being globally collective at the same time. The universality of her life’s journey puzzled me, even if it was so profoundly “hers”, and “Nocturnal Candescence” is the pivotal moment of that voyage. It’s the place where everything could end or begin. It’s a moment of pure awareness, of all consciousness, when a life could be given to a night of old despairs or renewed by morning rebirth shines. That encounter showed me that there was more than physical life and death. It revealed an extensive realm of spiritual existence and oblivion. That was her message in a way. Living ain’t being alive, it’s about defining what it means to be and to keep on emancipating yourself until you are free from what you decided or accepted as self-limitations of the heart and mind. The song is about that suspended instant in everybody’s life.

3. Who are some artists that you’ve been listening to recently?

Being already back in the studio for the writing production, I usually don’t listen much to music, if at all, but I’ve been really into Jim Jarmusch’s band “Sqürl”, Gareth Liddiard’s side project “Springtime” and “The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble” lately.

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