Ben Watt Soulfully Merges 30 Years Of Sonic Exploration

Email a Friend
Ben Watt peforms songs from his latest album <em>Hendra</em> live in the <em>Soundcheck</em> studio with guitarist Bernard Butler.

Ben Watt has been a force in the British music scene since his early days of crafting folk singles in the 1980s. During the '80s and '90s, he made up half of the jazz-tinged electronic duo Everything But The Girl. By the mid-1990s, Watt took an increased interest in the electronic dance music world, and traveled extensively as a DJ and promoter. He helped establish multiple clubs in London before launching his own house and techno label in 2003.

Now, Watt has released a new solo effort, 30 years after his first album. Hendra effectively marries the various jazz, rock, and folk influences of Watt's earlier work, though mostly eschewing the electronic inputs for atmospheric guitar accompaniments. The album features inspired guitar work from Bernard Butler, of seminal '90s British rock band Suede, and it also includes an appearance from Pink Floyd's David Gilmour. Watt's voice is strong and emotive on jazz-tinged numbers like "Spring" and the bluesy title track, but loses no weight when surrounded by Butler's sharp attack on "Nathaniel."

Hendra introduces a new chapter in an already highly-accomplished career. Ben Watt and Bernard Butler visit the Soundcheck studio to play some of the new songs live.