On Friday 9th April, singer-songwriter Robert John Ardiff will release his new album, ‘The Corridors of Love’. The 10-track LP is the second solo album from the former member of Choice Music Prize-nominated band, Come On, Live Long.
Today, Friday 2nd April, sees the release of the third single from the album. ‘Miles Away’ follows previous singles ‘Black Dog’ and ‘Tightrope Walker’ – both of which received strong support from press and radio in Ireland as well as on digital streaming platforms.
‘The Corridors of Love’ is a deeply moving album of beautifully crafted songs that concern themselves with highly emotive themes: despair, love, anxiety and hopefulness.
“The album is a love song to the forgotten; the left behind. I wrote the songs over the past year, while I was looking around at the city I live in, thinking, ‘what the hell is going on and where has the soul from this place gone?’ And I don’t just mean because of the pandemic. The anxiety that people feel because they can’t afford a house or a place to rent, when they are living paycheck to paycheck, when they are trying to create art or raise children or buy food – and the people in charge don’t seem to care for them,” says Ardiff. “The idea came about after reading a book by Deborah Levy entitled ‘The Cost of Living’ in which she describes the apartment she lives in as ‘the corridors of love’. So I took this idea and tried to tell the stories of the people behind these doors and incorporate it with my own personal experience.”
Indeed, if you listen closely to the 10 tracks that comprise ‘The Corridors of Love’, you will hear the sounds of assorted buildings and distant street scenes as Ardiff recorded the album incrementally between different cities, mainly Dublin, New York and Copenhagen.
“The main reason for the album being recorded in different places and cities was due to the Covid lockdown,” explains Ardiff. “Most studios weren’t operating during the second half of 2020 so the only thing to do, and to limit my family’s contacts, was to travel from place to place with my equipment and record the players in their own houses. The bass on most of the record was done above a chipper on Capel Street in Dublin; the guitarist in my band is based in Copenhagen and he has a friend with a studio there so he cut some of the electric with him; the oldest track on the record ‘Public Taxes’ was recorded in New York when I was there to play Mondo Music week in October 2019.”
Ardiff says that recording the record in this way has given him more pause for thought than he might otherwise have had. It gave him the space to really listen, edit and arrange the songs over time, rather than being under pressure to make decisions quickly as you would often have to do in a studio setting. It has also added to the texture of the album with the places it was recorded in sneaking into certain tracks like the sound of an ambulance passing, a dog barking or a radio frequency coming through an amp.
These raw sonic textures were then given the mixing treatment by GRAMMY award-winning engineer and producer, Ruadhri Cushnan, who has worked with the likes of Little Green Cars, Half Moon Run and Guillemots. “I wanted to blend my guerilla recording techniques with his mixing ability and he totally got that,” says Ardiff.
Ardiff’s first album, ‘Between the Bed and Room’, released in January 2018, garnered praise from the likes of Nialler9, who called it “soothing and emotive, reflecting the honest sound that Ardiff set out to depict” and The Last Mixed Tape who noted its “washing howls of texture.”
Since then, Ardiff has gone on to write for television after John Carney (formerly of The Frames and director of films such as Once and Sing Street) asked him to write songs for Amazon Prime’s Modern Love which stars Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey, Andy Garcia and more. This in turn has led to Ardiff’s Spotify numbers rising exponentially, with single songs earning upwards of 5 million streams.
With this new record, Robert John Ardiff has laid his heart on his sleeve for us and allowed us into his world and how it has been for the past year, in particular. There’s an honesty to it that is refreshing in its openness. It’s no wonder he is often spoken about in the same breath as some of Ireland’s most well-regarded songwriters like Villagers, Joshua Burnside and Rosie Carney. This is a stunning sophomore record.