When tragedy happens upon us, we are struck with a pain that renders us disoriented, devastated, and bereft. In its wake, all we are left with is a fragile perception of reality, a lingering reminder of mortality, a severely broken heart. Such was the case for How To Dress Well’s Tom Krell when his closest friend Ryan Hitchon suddenly and inexplicably passed away last fall. And, in the dark days surrounding this loss, Krell began to slip away. And, as the winter froze every bit of life out of that dark fall, Krell penned the despairing “Suicide Dream 3” – an outlet for the affects he could not bare to suppress. It was a gauzy, atmospheric ode in which Krell sung to his lost friend, as if he were there in the room; but, with every feeble attempt to touch him, the hazy apparition disappeared as quickly as Krell’s sense of hope.

It must have been the burgeoning spring, its warm sun melting the snow, that gave Krell a bit of perspective on the loss because early in 2011, Krell devised a much more positive plan for his sorrow. No longer finding solace in mourning, he envisioned “Suicide Dream 3,” the ode he penned in memory of his friend’s death, not as a permanent reminder of the tragedy, but as a memorial to someone he loved so dearly. Krell transformed the song into an orchestral wonder, possessing the original’s same dampened tone of anger, but ornately dressed in a wash of lush string arrangements. And, from there, the Just Once EP was born. The title of the EP denotes the singularity of this release – a limited edition 10″ release of a one-time-only orchestral approach to How To Dress Well’s dark, murky sound. But, it also refers to a segment of Rainer Maria Rilke’s ninth Duino Elegy, one of Hitchon’s favorite poems, a profound meditation on the unassailable intertwinement of life and loss. In Hitchon’s honor, the dirges of Just Once are meant to match what Ryan loved so much in Rilke’s elegies, their intensity and exultation and sensitivity to specialness and singularity of life. The remaining three tracks on this memorial EP are culled from How To Dress Well’s debut album. And, though they’re cloaked in a cleaner, orchestral exterior, the stunning darkness of HTDW’s debut is still very present. “Suicide Dream 1,” which Krell says, “…never felt complete until I added the verse about Ryan… something I’ve been doing live since he passed” is a heavenly take on the closing track to 2010’s Love Remains. It’s a conversation in the clouds in which Krell talks to Hitchon as if he was still here. “Suicide Dream 1” gives voice to disbelief over the loss of his friend, gives voice in song to the state of denial with which much mourning often begins: through its looping, hymn-like incantations it numbs the pain better than any pill could do. “Suicide Dream 2,” the harrowing, noisy centerpiece of Love Remains, is stripped down to a lonely piano and violin. It’s a glimpse into Krell’s nightmare, a sparse, desperate cry for help with no outstretched arms in sight. Emerging from this dark solitariness, Krell attempts to embrace his lost friend on “Suicide Dream 3”: the somehow positive denouement of “Suicide Dream 3” indicates that though Krell has not recuperated his lost love, he has done justice to the special bond he shared with Hitchon and to the special, singular life Ryan led. Following on this feeling, the EP closes with the jubilant “Decisions,” a highlight of How To Dress Well’s debut. It’s filled with the sound of celebration, an empowered march beyond pain and into the future. And though we never reach the end of that road – never truly reconciling the loss of those we have loved – we do learn how to walk back towards the light and how to remember in complex, meaningful ways; “Decisions” is the first step down that road. How to remember in a mode that doesn’t simply reopen wounds, but instead honors what has been lost and humbles those who are lucky enough to go on: this is the task Krell set himself with Just Once and the experience this very special record offers to a dedicated and sensitive listener.

It must have been the burgeoning spring, its warm sun melting the snow, that gave Krell a bit of perspective on the loss because early in 2011, Krell devised a much more positive plan for his sorrow. No longer finding solace in mourning, he envisioned “Suicide Dream 3,” the ode he penned in memory of his friend’s death, not as a permanent reminder of the tragedy, but as a memorial to someone he loved so dearly. Krell transformed the song into an orchestral wonder, possessing the original’s same dampened tone of anger, but ornately dressed in a wash of lush string arrangements. And, from there, the Just Once EP was born. The title of the EP denotes the singularity of this release – a limited edition 10″ release of a one-time-only orchestral approach to How To Dress Well’s dark, murky sound. But, it also refers to a segment of Rainer Maria Rilke’s ninth Duino Elegy, one of Hitchon’s favorite poems, a profound meditation on the unassailable intertwinement of life and loss. In Hitchon’s honor, the dirges of Just Once are meant to match what Ryan loved so much in Rilke’s elegies, their intensity and exultation and sensitivity to specialness and singularity of life. The remaining three tracks on this memorial EP are culled from How To Dress Well’s debut album. And, though they’re cloaked in a cleaner, orchestral exterior, the stunning darkness of HTDW’s debut is still very present. “Suicide Dream 1,” which Krell says, “…never felt complete until I added the verse about Ryan… something I’ve been doing live since he passed” is a heavenly take on the closing track to 2010’s Love Remains. It’s a conversation in the clouds in which Krell talks to Hitchon as if he was still here. “Suicide Dream 1” gives voice to disbelief over the loss of his friend, gives voice in song to the state of denial with which much mourning often begins: through its looping, hymn-like incantations it numbs the pain better than any pill could do. “Suicide Dream 2,” the harrowing, noisy centerpiece of Love Remains, is stripped down to a lonely piano and violin. It’s a glimpse into Krell’s nightmare, a sparse, desperate cry for help with no outstretched arms in sight. Emerging from this dark solitariness, Krell attempts to embrace his lost friend on “Suicide Dream 3”: the somehow positive denouement of “Suicide Dream 3” indicates that though Krell has not recuperated his lost love, he has done justice to the special bond he shared with Hitchon and to the special, singular life Ryan led. Following on this feeling, the EP closes with the jubilant “Decisions,” a highlight of How To Dress Well’s debut. It’s filled with the sound of celebration, an empowered march beyond pain and into the future. And though we never reach the end of that road – never truly reconciling the loss of those we have loved – we do learn how to walk back towards the light and how to remember in complex, meaningful ways; “Decisions” is the first step down that road. How to remember in a mode that doesn’t simply reopen wounds, but instead honors what has been lost and humbles those who are lucky enough to go on: this is the task Krell set himself with Just Once and the experience this very special record offers to a dedicated and sensitive listener.

JUST ONCE EP DETAILS
Limited to 1000 copies, this 10″ vinyl is a one-time-only orchestral release from HTDW. Each physical copy comes with a hand-written letter from HTDW and a password to view behind-the-scenes footage of the “Suicide Dream 2″ recording.
$1 of every 10” sold will be donated to MindFreedom.org to benefit those with Mental Health Issues.

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JUST ONCE EP TRACKLISTING
1.
Suicide Dream 1 (Orchestral Version) 03:50
2.
Suicide Dream 2 (Orchestral Version) 04:50
3.
Suicide Dream 3 (Orchestral Version) 05:18
4.
Decisions (Orchestral Version) 02:40

HOW TO DRESS WELL ToUR DATES
6/17 Sonar Festival Barcelona
6/22 XOYO London
6/23 DNA Brussels
6/24 Trouw Amsterdam
6/25 Gruner Salon Berlin
6/28 Landmark Bergen
6/29 Sodra Teatern Stockholm
7/02 Roskilde Denmark
7/17 Pitchfork Festival Chicago, IL
8/6 OFF Festival Katowice,Poland
8/8 Glasgow
8/9 Manchester
8/10 Bristol
8/11 Brighton
8/12 London
8/13 Oya Festival Oslo, Norway

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