Tookah is Emiliana Torrini's fourth album and it follows 2008's critically acclaimed Me And Armini. It sees Emiliana back in the studio with her long-time producer/collaborator Dan Carey.
'Tookah' was written at different stages over a 3 year period, the oldest song being "When Fever Breaks" which was written having come off a tough two year tour which took it's toll in many ways.
"The only way to deal with things is to go into the studio and do music, it is like brain scrambling. You come out of the session clearer as you get to step out of yourself take a look and deal with it."
Other songs like 'Autumn Sun' were written in Iceland.
"We had done that before, gone on a week's writing trip to Iceland, wrote five songs in that week which all made it onto ´Me and Armini´. We were kind of expecting the same to happen. It didn´t. We only wrote 'Autumn Sun'. It was extremely frustrating. Lyrics were hard to write for this album and I spent day and night trying to finish it - with Dan standing over me in military mode. The only time in my life I did not like him much."
On the airplane we realized Dan had left his computer at the airport - it had the only copy of the song. He ran out to find it and just made it back just before the doors closed. We had a terrifying landing that almost ended badly. We grabbed each other and the only thing we said was "Nooo the song! It will be lost forever!"
This record was my sound journey. I had not long had my baby and was getting my head around this huge love I had for him and then being absolutely devastated that I might have dragged him out of a world where he was wild and free, riding horses, swimming in rivers and eating over open fires, to this world where the bad is too much to handle. I had a new identity to figure out and the record was the tiger in the rowing boat. It was going nowhere. I did not like the music we were doing because we had done it before. We knew how to craft that. I needed a challenge, proof that something in me had shifted and it had to be musically as well. I was driving myself too hard.
Dan told me I was not ready to make a record, that I should forget about it for a while, just hang out.
So, we started hanging out, in the studio. In my head the difference was we were not making a record. I discovered the Oberheim on Youtube and that changed everything. That and the Swarmatron Dan had bought. We knew we would plaster it all over the record before we knew what the record was.
I pulled some friends together I was writing with Simon Byrt, ("Blood Red", "Elísabet"), Ian kellett (´Elísabet) and Matt Robertson who are real synth nerds and we started playing around and having fun. We went to Dan´s and jammed and started doing some synth symphonies.
After you have a baby there comes a time where you need to go out with your girlfriends and dance. I went to the studio with Dan and did a dance track "Speed of Dark." We danced. It had to be on the record it was a part of the journey. From that the sound of the record was born, it was a challenge bringing it all together.
The sound was worked very visually. There are almost two stories to each song there is the lyrical visual and then there is a whole different visual that comes with the instrumental and that is how the sound was often directed. "Home" is a very good example of how the sound was built from a visual. When we were writing it, it was clear it had to have a very certain feeling. ´I wanted it to have the visual of you standing in snow blinding white, watching your breath in the cold, not feeling the cold. You look to your left and a lake stretches out frozen and huge. You walk over it to the other side into a forest, you lose direction. Completely lost and helpless. Fireworks start lighting up the sky and you feel a wave of relief. You walk towards them. In the king blue sky they start changing into jelly fish in neon flashing colours, leading the way to home.´ We did not stop until we saw that when playing it.
'Tookah' is a made up word. It came when I was improvising and I connected with that word or name in a very deep blissful way. It is the core of you. The 'you' you were when you were born, before life decorated you like a Christmas tree with all the baggage. It is what connects us with everyone and everything.
It is what the sufis spin for, what we are looking for all our lives. It is the sudden thankfulness you feel when doing nothing in particular, where everything is gently perfect for a moment. God has many names. I call mine 'Tookah'.
- Emiliana Torrini
3. Autumn Sun
6. Animal Games
7. Speed of Dark
8. Blood Red
9. When Fever Breaks