Arlo Parks has treated us to a new single from her second album 'My Soft Machine', with ‘Impurities’; a tuneful and textured track written about community.
“it’s about being around people who make you feel like your inner ugliness and failures and mistakes don’t matter, who lift you up and make you laugh, who make you feel good and clean.”
My Soft Machine is a deeply personal body of work; a narration of Parks’ experiences as she navigates her 20s and the growth intertwined. The production came as a collaboration between Arlo, Romil Hemnani - from Brockhampton - and Carter Lang after being inspired by nights listening to The Beatles and SZA, as well as her love for ambient music and atmosphere.
“The world/our view of it is peppered by the biggest things we experience - our traumas, upbringing, vulnerabilities almost like visual snow. This record is life through my lens, through my body - the mid 20s anxiety, the substance abuse of friends around me, the viscera of being in love for the first time, navigating PTSD and grief and self sabotage and joy, moving through worlds with wonder and sensitivity - what it’s like to be trapped in this particular body. There is a quote from a Joanna Hogg film called the Souvenir, it’s an A24 semi-autobiographical film with Tilda Swinton - it recounts a young film student falling in love with an older, charismatic man as a young film student then being drawn into his addiction - in an early scene he’s explaining why people watch films - “we don’t want to see life as it is played out we want to see life as it is experienced in this soft machine.” So there we have it, the record is called....My Soft Machine.”
Accompanying the single is a Jak Payne-directed video, which sees Arlo spotlighted in familiar settings, whilst the camera delicately pans the moving picture. Parks explains,
“with this visualiser I really wanted to convey this atmospheric oscillation between solitude and companionship - I wanted to show how being around your people really does feel like coming home. When I was writing this song I had been thinking about Gus Van Sant a lot and how he captures people in all their fragility and beauty and ugliness - Jak was instrumental in creating/protecting that sense of softness.”