Hercules and Love Affair are perhaps most known for their 2008 collaborative track, “Blind,” which, incidentally, showed just how scintillating Anohni’s voice was when set against an uptempo electronic backdrop. (She’d follow up on this precedent with her lyrically bleak political dance pop album, Hopelessness, which displayed a frighteningly effective formula for disorientation.) Now, the band have teamed with another artist whose voice doesn’t usually appear in such a synthesized context: Sharon Van Etten.
Their collaboration makes up Hercules’ upcoming album’s title track, “Omnion,” and was just shared today. The track is underlaid by metallic synths that deplete and fold into themselves, while horns swell and flourish in contrast. Van Etten’s voice appears more modified than you might be used to, but even in its polished presence here, it still provides an aching human quality to a song that toys with a mixture of alienating and viscerally appealing instrumentals. Hercules creator Andy Butler released a statement:
I feel so blessed to have had Sharon Van Etten sing “Omnion.” She is an artist of incredible depth and authenticity and her voice is so inviting yet truly has a mystery about it. Those qualities rendered a beautiful interpretation of a song that is ultimately an appeal to the divine for help and healing. With such a generous spirit and kindness about her, she was a joy to work with.
Van Etten herself said:
This song is so vulnerable, but strong. Coming to terms with identity and finding community… (in my mind). It’s a very important time to share in that sentiment… I really appreciate Andy reaching out to collaborate. His heart beats in his songs.
Their artistic teamwork actually goes both ways, as Hercules and Love Affair just contributed a remix of Van Etten’s own track, the chilling “Not Myself” — in an effort to make it shareable within the “club community.” The track was written in honor of the the Pulse Nightclub victims, and the proceeds went to the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund.)
Listen to “Omnion”:
The album of the same name is out on August 18.