Jain, who moved to New York in 2001, spent her first few years in the city playing behind closed doors. She absorbed the musical climate of the city, collaborating with different musicians. In 2004 she started recording at home with an 8-track. This gave her the freedom to experiment. An ascetic’s creed of music-making presented itself: Let the songs be roughly hewn. Keep them minimal. Avoid all indulgences. Let the music get as dark as it has to be. She let her own experience of loss and hope shape the lyrics that are so central to the album.
The result is We Made This Ourselves (to be released outside of North America on The Leaf Label in early 2008), a wrenchingly emotional record whose title reflects the music’s sense of having been carved carefully and painfully from its maker’s life. At their core, Essie Jain’s songs are melodies strung out on one fragile, haunting note. Yet they sound indestructible. The powerful minimalism of this record is undeniable, and you will hear more in its silences than in a dozen louder albums’ noise.