Bat for Lashes matures
Natasha Khan from Bat for Lashes.

UK singer-songwriter Natasha Khan, better known as Bat for Lashes, makes her long-awaited Perth debut as part of next year's St. Jerome's Laneway Festival, having given Australian fans a taste with two shows as part of Sydney's Vivid Festival last year.

Khan has fond memories of the trip. But it wasn't her first time in Australia.

"Doing two nights at the Sydney Opera House was incredible," she says. "I hadn't been to Australia since I was 18. I travelled around and had seen the Opera House but never would have guessed I'd be called back to play."

With a terrific new album, The Haunted Man, finally released, Khan says her connection with the record is indicative of where she finds herself at the moment.

"Every album is different because it's like a crystallised moment in time, a little punctuation in my life," she says. "I haven't really listened to the other two (2006's Fur and Gold and 2009's Two Suns) in a long time but I remember how I felt when I wrote those and I know how differently I feel now.

"It's a more consistent piece of music. I think it presents the more grown-up woman that I've become and feels quite eclectic emotionally, it's not all dark or childlike, it's more multidimensional. But I think that's just how I feel at the moment."

Despite an impressive array of collaborators, including Beck and TV on the Radio's David Sitek, it was Khan's own growth as a producer that created the sounds and arrangements on The Haunted Man. The title track even features a male choir building up from its middle eight breakdown, in one of the album's most compelling moments.

"I've become more confident with production techniques and sound," Khan says. "I'm heavily involved in mixing and planning where performances sit.

"The male choir part was a very interesting experiment both recording technique and production-wise. We recorded voices and then layered those and projected them over a big valley in Italy. When we recorded, we got the natural echo that was coming off a mountain and took that into the studio and panned it so it moves across the speakers. You're almost creating the sound of these voices moving across and coming over, closer to you in the mix.

"I wanted to colour in the gaps in just the right way and it becomes so much like a craft that you get into. I really enjoyed that and I think it comes across as more thought out and just a bit bolder."

'Every album is different because it's like a crystallised moment in time.' NATASHA KHAN

The West Australian

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