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After the experience of touring previous album ‘The Book of Traps and Lessons’, Tempest realised that they wanted ‘The Line Is A Curve’ to be a communicative record. The concept manifested itself both in the contributions of other artists (the aforementioned Kevin Abstract, Grian Chatten of Fontaines DC, Lianne La Havas, ássia, Confucius MC) and during the recording process, when Tempest decided to do three vocal takes in one day, to three different generations of people; “a man of 78 who I’d never met, a woman of 29, the poet Bridget Minamore, who is a good friend of mine and then to three young fans of 12, 15 and 16 who had responded to a social media post.”
Featuring artwork shot by renowned photographer Wolfgang Tillmans, the album is best described by Tempest themselves:
“The Line Is A Curve is about letting go. Of shame, anxiety, isolation and falling instead into surrender. Embracing the cyclical nature of time, growth, love. This letting go can hopefully be felt across the record. In the musicality, the instrumentation, the lyricism, the delivery, the cover art. In the way it ends where it begins and begins where it ends.I knew I wanted my face on the sleeve. Throughout the duration of my creative life, I have been hungry for the spotlight and desperately uncomfortable in it. For the last couple of records I wanted to disappear completely from the album covers, the videos, the front-facing aspects of this industry. A lot of that was about my shame but I masked it behind a genuine desire for my work to speak for itself, without me up front, commodifying what felt so rare to me and sacred. I was, at times, annoyed that in order to put the work out, I had to put myself out. But this time around, I understand it differently. I want people to feel welcomed into this record, by me, the person who made it, and I have let go of some of my airier concerns. I feel more grounded in what I’m trying to do, who I am as an artist and as a person and what I have to offer. I feel less shame in my body because I am not hiding from the world anymore. I wanted to show my face and I dreamed of it being Wolfgang Tillmans who took the portrait.”
With four studio albums, a novel, their first work of non-fiction (‘On Connection’), three plays and five collections of poetry to their name, Kae Tempest has firmly established themselves as one of the most unique, thought-provoking and critically-acclaimed voices of their generation. With the release of ‘The Line Is A Curve’, in 2022, that reputation is only set to grow exponentially.