Stuart A. Staples about the album: 2017 felt like a lost year. On Christmas day 2016 I was drawn to the studio to record the beginnings of what was to become "A New Real". The following Christmas day I was trying to finish it and the rest of this album it had unknowingly begun. A year more or less in the dark, working in ways alien to me. I began by being interested in working 'on the grid' for the first time, but as the songs developed my innate free sense of timing grew more and more uneasy, forming a kind of internal power struggle that culminated in an all-out battle within the final section of "Step Into The Grey". I also felt a growing need for each song to take a turn, to lead them into strange places, keeping the feeling or effect of the song, but only as a memory.
Music for "A Year in Small Paintings" had been evolving since Claire Denis first saw the work by Suzanne in 2012 and wanted to turn these 365 paintings in to a 30 minute film – This gave me the way in to make the music for the journey of her daily engagement with the sky over that year. As friends and musicians passed through the studio I found the time to ask them to watch and react to the paintings. From these recordings, I chipped away at its form, guiding and editing. Each time there was an exhibition of the work there was a newly evolved version of the music to accompany it. Eventually, the circle was closed when Claire used the paintings in her film "Un beau soliel interieur" and its soundtrack became inextricably linked to the music for "A year..." - It was time to make the final decisions about the arrangement and the recording sessions for strings and woodwind. Even though the music on Arrhythmia became quite severe distillations of the ideas, there were many musicians that helped me realise it – whether they actually feature in the final mixes or not their presence and influence is felt.