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PJ Harvey to Record New Studio Album in Front of Live Audience

Tickets for the unique recording sessions at Somerset House in London quickly sell out

PJ Harvey

PJ Harvey performs live on stage at the State Theatre on January 18, 2012 in Sydney, Australia.

Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

PJ Harvey‘s much-anticipated follow-up to 2011’s Mercury Prize-winning Let England Shake will shatter the line between a live album and a studio LP thanks to a living art exhibit called Recording in Progress. For four weeks, Harvey, her band, producers and engineers will occupy a glass-encased studio in the Somerset House in London to record Harvey’s upcoming album as museumgoers watch as the singer creates the songs from scratch.

The box surrounding the studio will be constructed with one-way glass, meaning spectators can look in but Harvey and her team can’t see into the crowd. Soon after the exhibit was announced, the allotment of 3,000 tickets to watch Harvey record her new album in 45-minute sessions quickly sold out, BBC News writes. No word yet when the album itself will be released, but a similarly fourth wall-breaking look at the lead-up and promotional cycle of the album might also be in the works, the Guardian writes.

“I want Recording in Progress to operate as if we’re an exhibition in a gallery,” Harvey said in a statement. “I hope people will see the attention and the labor and the care that goes into making a recording. I hope people will see the interactions between everyone involved.” 

Fellow collaborators Artangel call the project, which will be conducted from January 16th to February 14th, a “mutating, multidimensional sound sculpture,” the Guardian writes. “It will be warts and all,” Artangel co-director Michael Morris said. “There will be some visitors who experience longueurs, the tuning-up of a bass guitar, the integration of a horn section. There will others there when she happens to run through a couple of songs from start to finish. It is very much a lottery.”

In This Article: PJ Harvey

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