Inspired by a year spent working on independent film scores, New York singer-songwriter Jordan Galland approached his fourth solo release, Wind-Up Rabbit, with a cinematic mindset. He was determined to include “AKA Love,” a nostalgic male-female duet, on the album, but he was missing the perfect chanteuse for it. It was only after seeing avant-folk singer Charlotte Kemp Muhl at an intimate club show in New York that Galland knew he had found her.
“The album’s producer Charlie Klarsfield turned to me to say, ‘You know, Charlotte would be great for the ‘AKA Love’ duet,'” Galland tells Rolling Stone, “which was perfect because Sean Lennon, her boyfriend, had already laid down the acoustic guitar for us on the track.”
Muhl eventually lent her vocals to Galland’s tune. The result is a dreamlike ballad that marches slowly upward, buoyed by a soft cushion of strings and Lennon’s arpeggiated fingerpicking.
“I’ve always wanted to do a proper duet ever since first hearing Lee Hazel and Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Some Velvet Morning’ when I was a teenager,” Galland says. “There’s something inherently dramatic and cinematic about that format that instantly inspires a narrative.”
You can listen to “AKA Love” below. Wind-Up Rabbit is out July 23rd.