Ethan Johns with The Black Eyed Dogs
TUESDAY 16TH OCTOBER 2018
“I was in some kind of mystic haze/Man I couldn’t see straight,” sings Ethan Johns on the meditative Jackie Lee, coming on like Bob Dylan after a heavy night of Holy Mountain and heartache. At once intensely personal but also asking the bigger, more esoteric questions that have followed Johns since his youth, Anamnesis isn’t like most folk rock records. But then again, most folk rock records aren’t informed by an obscure text from 1616 about spiritual transformation. Ethan Johns’ first album since 2015’s ‘Silver Liner’, the musical polymath’s latest release is a whirlwind of a thing, a magical coming together of people and of ideas, taking as its starting the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz. “It’s basically the alchemists bible,” explains Johns, matter-of-factly. “What it does is talk about the true nature of alchemy - which is the transformation of the soul, not about the transformation of base metal into gold.” It’s this spiritual journey which runs deep throughout Anamnesis, which also draws inspiration from the works of magical thinkers - and personal heroes of Johns’ - Alejandro Jodorowsky and Philip K Dick. Anamnesis is different for another reason too. The album will only be available as a physical release, taking a stand against streaming culture and the disservice it does to artists who are trying to make living from their music.