PJ Harvey has chosen to make her much-anticipated ninth album in an architectural installation, open to public view at Somerset House in London for four weeks only.
The Inland Revenue's former staff gymnasium and rifle range, in the recently opened New Wing of Somerset House, will be transformed into a recording studio specially designed by Somerset House-based Something & Son. The studio will take the form of a box, displaying through one-way glass, PJ Harvey, her band, producers and engineers as a mutating, multi-dimensional sound sculpture.
Recording in Progress is a project conceived by PJ Harvey, in collaboration with Artangel and Somerset House, that will see her, together with longstanding producers Flood and John Parish, record her new album witnessed by small groups of visitors. Each group will experience something different, depending on what point in its development a particular song has reached and which of its elements are mixed live. Visits may coincide with the introduction of a new vocal, a specific bass line or it may hinge on the way percussion underpins another track. As in many working environments, some visitors might overhear a discussion or experience moments of silence when a new approach to the material is being considered, or may happen to be there just when the band decide to run through a complete song from the top.
"I want Recording in Progress to operate as if we're an exhibition in a gallery. I hope visitors will be able to experience the flow and energy of the recording process." - PJ Harvey
"Artangel is honoured to be working with PJ Harvey, one of the world's leading contemporary voices, on an unprecedented experiment. The working process of a project has always been as important to us as its public presentation and here both can be fully explored and revealed at the same time." - James Lingwood and Michael Morris, Co-Directors, Artangel
"We're particularly delighted to be collaborating with Artangel and PJ Harvey on this special project as Somerset House enters an energising era of new vitality and fresh ideas, establishing itself as a place where art is both made and presented." - Jonathan Reekie, Director, Somerset House
Recording in Progress is produced and presented by Artangel and Somerset House.