Esperanza Spalding has shared her latest single “formwela 4,” a collaboration with Corey King recorded in her recently developed in her Songwrights Apothecary Lab, an experimental space that aims to explore music and musicianship as a means of healing.
The track arrives with an official music video directed by Megan Eleanor Clark in collaboration with art director Rob Lewis. Simple and calming in its nature, the visual centers Spalding and King as they trade vocals and harmonize while sitting on the porch of a house. Every few scenes, the camera flickers to understated shots of the chosen setting.
Spalding has said that “formwela 4” was created for when “an un-revealed current at the river bottom of your being needs to rise up and be made lovingly legible.”
On the song, she sings: “Let me allow the beauty from above who made you that way / To be known love and get it made / To know you need it that way is to let me love you.” The song aims to remind listeners that “loving and self-giving are not individual undertakings; that even in the most intimate circumstances, ancestors and earth’s support forces are in attendance, for the honoring of their beauty via the truth of how you really are, and what you really need.”
“Formwela 4” is the first of three songs Spalding is set to release this June. Additional tracks will arrive each Friday for the remainder of the month. These releases were also created with King at the Songwrights Apothecary Lab in Portland, Oregon.
The lab was launched back in April with the release of Spalding’s 3-track Triangle suite. The aim of the project is to incorporate therapeutic practices and knowledge into the creative process of songwriters.
Rather than releasing the tracks created in the lab as plastic CDs or vinyl records, the songs will be released with a functional object. For example, “formwela 4” is being released with an iron-on patch shaped like a blue ear. The intention is for those who purchase to item to find function in speaking their needs into the ear, or ironing it onto an item they own to carry with them.
This weekend, on June 12, Spalding will be opening an in-person installation of the Songwrights Apothecary Lab in New York as part of the River to River festival being held in the city. She will be working alongside researchers and musical collaborators for 10 days and will participate in “shareback” sessions with the public where they will have a chance to experience the lab and listen to music still in the process of being created.