“A lot of the songs are about that struggle to express,” he explains. “Coming into the record I wanted to make something that was a separation from myself, and didn't feel like such a window into my feelings. But because of my feelings throughout the process I think these are the most honest songs I've ever written.”
While tonally intimate, many of the arrangements on Half Light are more expansive than anything Green has attempted previously. “I'm always trying to counteract live instruments with something completely synthetic,” Green says of the process. “I like the idea of having something recognisable at the heart of a track, and then everything around it can be ear candy, mangled or manipulated. But at the heart of every track there needs to be something that the listener can identify with.”
Named after the Japanese idiom which describes the calm before a momentous event, ‘Yoyuu’ blossoms out of transcendent strings and reflects the space of Green’s new, bucolic surroundings. Meanwhile, the fluttering percussion and shimmering synth textures of cinematic lead single ‘Realign’ brings to mind the work of Christian Löffler or Bonobo, both of whom remain key influences in terms of production, alongside long-time vocal reference points RY X and Mike Milosh of Rhye.
For ‘Tide’, Green secured a guest turn from another one of his singing heroes, Bonobo and Flying Lotus-collaborator Andreya Triana, while ‘Idle’ features Canadian artist Ghostly Kisses, his label mate at Akira. Alongside strings and a saxophone player, these were the only outside contributors, bar mixing engineer Tristan Hoogland.
With trademark self-deprecation, Green still very much regards Half Light as a document of his learning process, and that’s ultimately reflected in the choice of title. “I almost wanted to hint that this album is a transitional thing,” he explains. “The half light is a lyric in the first verse I wrote for the album, and I love that idea that you’re not fully standing in the sunlight. You're not yourself and you’re slightly in the dark in your mind, but you know that you still have something to give... So the overriding feeling that I hope people get from [Half Light] is that it's a defiant record.”