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Nick Cave And Warren Ellis Release New Single Grief

Wednesday, 14 April 2021 Written by Jon Stickler

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis have shared a new single.

The longtime collaborators recorded Grief in London last November, and it features a spoken word recording of Cave's response to a letter submitted by a fan to his Red Hand Files website in 2018, querying if he felt his late teenage son Arthur was "communicating in some way". He replied to Cynthia at the time, writing:

Dear Cynthia,

This is a very beautiful question and I am grateful that you have asked it. It seems to me, that if we love, we grieve. That’s the deal. That’s the pact. Grief and love are forever intertwined. Grief is the terrible reminder of the depths of our love and, like love, grief is non-negotiable. There is a vastness to grief that overwhelms our minuscule selves. We are tiny, trembling clusters of atoms subsumed within grief’s awesome presence. It occupies the core of our being and extends through our fingers to the limits of the universe. Within that whirling gyre all manner of madnesses exist; ghosts and spirits and dream visitations, and everything else that we, in our anguish, will into existence. These are precious gifts that are as valid and as real as we need them to be. They are the spirit guides that lead us out of the darkness.

I feel the presence of my son, all around, but he may not be there. I hear him talk to me, parent me, guide me, though he may not be there. He visits Susie in her sleep regularly, speaks to her, comforts her, but he may not be there. Dread grief trails bright phantoms in its wake. These spirits are ideas, essentially. They are our stunned imaginations reawakening after the calamity. Like ideas, these spirits speak of possibility. Follow your ideas, because on the other side of the idea is change and growth and redemption. Create your spirits. Call to them. Will them alive. Speak to them. It is their impossible and ghostly hands that draw us back to the world from which we were jettisoned; better now and unimaginably changed.

With love, Nick.

The piece rolls out over a dreamlike synth soundscape and will feature on a 7" single backed by Song For Cynthia. It comes with a message from Cave: "My reply was the first time I was able to articulate my own contradictory feelings of grief. Letters like Cynthia’s have helped bring me and many others back to the world." 

Cave and Ellis surprise released 'Carnage' in February. It was recorded during the 2020 enforced coronavirus lockdown and marked the pair's first record as a duo.

In 2020, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds cancelled their UK, European and North American dates supporting 2019's 'Ghosteen' LP due to the ongoing pandemic. Following that, Cave dropped 'Idiot Prayer - Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace' in November of that year.

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