Friday 14 September 2018

WATCH: Novo Amor - 'Utican' & 'Birthplace'

I hadn't heard anything from Welsh artist Novo Amor (aka Ali Lacey) until I heard his single Birthplace earlier in the year. It's a beautiful track, and if you're a fan of early Bon Iver you'll probably love it, as well as new track Utican which I'm sharing below. His falsetto vocals are striking, accompanied by music that is vast, atmospheric and often cinematic in its nature, making use of some really exciting instrumentation, including soaring strings. Both tracks come from his upcoming debut solo album Birthplace, due for release on October 19th - if the rest of the record matches these singles in it's quality, I absolutely can not wait to hear more.

Beyond the music, which is utterly spellbinding, there are plenty more reasons to fall for Novo Amor, especially his care and love for the environment, which we should all share. There is a sustainability page on his website, detailing the steps he is taking to make his record and upcoming tour more environmentally friendly. These include using recycled and recyclable materials (right down to the LPs) to reducing waste (including plastic and food) on the road - by making use of refillable water bottles and "only asking for what we need, not what we want". As someone who has helped to supply riders for artists in the past - I fully approve of this point, because I have seen firsthand how much waste there often is, when artists request as much food and drink to be backstage as the promoter will provide. I've also often been concerned about the scale of single-use plastic used at shows in terms of plastic water bottles - and wondered why more touring bands couldn't just use refillable bottles. Hopefully more artists will follow suit!

In addition to this, for the video for Birthplace, Ali and his team enlisted the help of British Champion Freediver Michael Board to highlight the major issue of plastic pollution in our oceans. In the video, which you can (and definitely should) watch below, we are introduced to the beauty of the oceans, before being shown just some of the impact that plastic pollution is having on the incredible creatures which inhabit our oceans.

The video has been viewed over 750,000 times on Youtube alone, and was awarded 'Independent Video of the Year' at the AIM Awards recently. There is a behind the scenes video showing the sheer time and effort which went into creating such a visually impactful video, from both the creative team and locals in Bali. The video has an accompanying website, highlighting some fairly unbelievable statistics about worldwide plastic consumption via Earth Day, here are some which I found most shocking:

91% of plastic waste isn't recycled. 
500 million plastic straws are used everyday in America. 
Nearly two million single-use plastic bags are distributed worldwide every minute. 
There are over 300,000 plastic beads in a tube of face wash. 

Buy a reusable water bottle. Take a reusable cup to get your takeaway hot drink. Carry a backpack or tote bag for your shopping. Say no to a plastic straw or disposable cutlery. Boycott micro-beads. There are SO many ways that you can reduce your personal plastic consumption and make even the smallest of differences. For more info on the issue and what you can do to make a change, check out Plastic Oceans, and check out Novo Amor's upcoming tour dates here to hear this beautiful music live.

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