Making his debut with the Mercury Prize-nominated Here Be Monsters in 2001, Harcourt has released music under his own name that blends raw emotions, impeccable songwriting and visionary flights of imagination. A succession of ten rich, enthralling albums have followed that first spark of his, including the intoxicating addictive Strangers in 2004; 2013’s breathless Back Into The Woods which was recorded in just eight hours; and Furnaces which compellingly and entreatingly envisioned family ties confronted by the small matter of the apocalypse. After that LP in 2016, Harcourt then moved to explore the instrumental sphere with recent soundscape albums Beyond The End and Monochrome To Colour.
While recognisably bearing all the hallmarks that have made him such an admired and prolific songwriter, one of Britain’s most cherished yet inventive music creators, Ed’s new record, El Magnifico, also finds him striving for something new. It is an Ed Harcourt record, but one with a desire to seek fresh reward.
“I think as a songwriter you do get to a point where you're aware of your past and what you’ve done,” suggests Harcourt of El Magnifico’s mixture of assuredness and aspiration. “It’s knowing what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are, but also knowing how to better yourself by doing things you haven't done before.”
“I find that I’m always learning,” Harcourt adds. “When I’m writing with someone else it’s always a total blank canvas so you have to be open to trying new things. It means with every record I do myself it’s got to have something different in it. Every album is always a reaction to the last thing I did. After the Furnaces, which was quite heavy and experimental, I felt it was time I went back to the source a bit. So maybe there is a sense here of drawing on what people perhaps know me for, but there is also a big step forward.”
Released: March 2024
Label: Deathless Recordings
2. Into The Loving Arms Of Your Enemy
3. Broken Keys
4. Strange Beauty
5. The Violence Of The Rose
6. Ghost Ship
8. Anvils & Hammers
9. My Heart Can’t Keep Up With My Mind
10. At The Dead Of The World
12. El Magnifico