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Ben Hughes | Photo via benhughes.bandcamp.com

Over the past few months on The Key, we’ve been tracking New Jersey singer/songwriter (and member of A Little Affair / Night Windows) Ben Hughes’ latest venture: opening his personal time capsule of music. He’s releasing an album each month of 2015, consisting of lo-fi solo material he recorded from 2005 through 2012.

This month’s release, Beautifully Made, finds Hughes in the spring of 2011. This was his first solo album where he included more effects, electric guitar and bass, and he didn’t play drums on all tracks.

On this album, Hughes both rounded out the sound of his recordings and tried to dig himself out of the dark tone that haunted his earlier albums. He still expresses doubt in himself and the world around him, but tries to make something beautiful out of all the commotion. As he says on his Bandcamp,

“Beautifully Made” was reassurance during a chapter of my life where I was still struggling with my past, and my views on different philosophical and religious teachings. I saw visions of the man I wanted to be, and knew I wasn’t there yet. I also knew I wasn’t alone in my thinking, so I tried to reach out, and sing to myself and other like-minded people with these songs.

Hughes also included a 5 song medley, ranging from the songs “Strong Woman” to “Off & On.” It includes his shortest song to date, “The Mistakes that I’ve Made”, which clocks in at just 23 seconds. A thunderstorm rumbles throughout the background of the medley. Hughes included this for a specific reason: “I felt the thunderstorm summed up and symbolized where my mind was at during the writing of these songs,” he says.

Hughes feels that medleys are not only fun, but the may be the cure for people who buy or listen to only one song from a record. His inspiration and love for medleys comes from bands such as Bright Eyes, Cursive, The Beach Boys, and The Beatles.

Beautifully Made also marks the transition from Hughes’ “solo” sound to the sound that developed into his new band, Night Windows. “In retrospect,” Hughes writes, “I would consider this the first Night Windows record.”

Night Windows is putting out a split EP in June with a new Philly band, Pilkington. It’s entitled “Greetings From Night Windows & Pilkington”. The release show will be at Kung Fu Necktie on June 5.

The band will be handing out the split to every guest upon entry on unique postcards with a download link. “This way, people who come to the show can take home the release in a different way and/or send it to their friends like the show was a destination to write home about,” Hughes says.

Tune in next month to find out what Hughes will write home about next.

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