Promise Not to Think About Love
It Can't Be You
The City With No Rivers
Paris or Amsterdam
Never Let Me Go
From Now On
Tall Tall Shadow, the third album by Toronto singer-songwriter Basia Bulat, is the bravest album she has made. Raw and spectral, heartbroken, yet jubilant, these ten songs tell the story of a very hard year in the artist’s life and all the love that helped her through it.
Whereas the singer's past two LPs, including 2008's Polaris-nominated Oh, My Darling, were made in Montreal's all-analogue Hotel 2 Stango studio, Tall Tall Shadow is a more modern thing. This is a record with echo and reverb, electronic flutters and electric autoharp, voices that charge and incandesce around buzzing guitars, lonely piano and rattling percussion.
To get to this place, Bulat co-produced the album with, Tim Kingsbury and Mark Lawson. Kingsbury, a member of Arcade Fire, "can play anything and everything," she says. Lawson, who has worked on records with Akron/Family and Colin Stetson, and who won a Grammy for his work on Arcade Fire's The Suburbs, is a studio alchemist, someone who "hears things" hidden in songs, who is always keen to transform them.
They started recording in Toronto, at a reverberating 60-year-old dance hall. Once again, Bulat put together a band: her brother, the punk-inclined drummer Bobby Bulat; Holly Coish on keys and backing vocals; Kingsbury and Ben Whiteley on guitars and bass. One song features Whiteley's father, the folk legend Ken Whiteley, on gospel organ. But Tall Tall Shadow isn't acoustic folk music: like Beck's Sea Change or Buckingham Nicks, chord and strum are a launch-pad for wilder sounds.
Bulat's goal was to keep challenging herself. "Promise Not to Think About Love," with shimmying bass and dancing handclaps, is the poppiest track she has ever released. "It Can't Be You," played on an Andean charango, is one of the simplest. "Never Let Me Go" is all crescendo, a woman in a storm, and the title track reaches soaring for the sky: has there ever been a better showcase for Bulat's powerhouse voice? For her steam-train heart?
"Two months before I was due to begin recording, I suffered a deep loss," Bulat says. "I kind of started over." She started; and she didn't stop.
by Sean Michaels
“I’m trying to let myself go a little more, which is a bit of an oxymoron.” On her third album, Tall Tall Shadow, the Ontario folk siren Basia Bulat softly busts open with a record more personal and with more production than her previous acclaimed efforts. The Juno-nominated artist recently spoke to The Globe about lightness, darkness and her tango with the charango.
Réalisation: Stephanie Comilang
Alors que l'été tirait à sa fin, je me suis envolée vers Berlin pour travailler avec Stephanie Comilang sur le prochain vidéo. Nous nous sommes enfermés dans un studio à Kreuzberg avec l'équipe de création et nous n'avons pas mis les pieds dehors pendant plus de 48 heures! Nous avons créé un "lo-fi dance club" exclusif pour l'occasion, tout en ramenant à la vie une vieille caméra et des pellicules oubliées. Le résultat est un vidéoclip qui joue avec l'ombre et la lumière, et qui rend à la fois hommage à quelques artistes que j'admire et aux techniques analogues perdues. - Basia Bulat
Could Basia Bulat Be This Generation's Joni Mitchell?
Bruised purity became passion --- the song became instantly personal. The voice I'd thought perhaps too pretty turned urgent: "You're running away/but the shadow is your own." And then I had to listen to all ten of the songs on "Tall Tall Shadow."
Most of the songs on “Tall Tall Shadow” (Secret City), the third album by this singer-songwriter from Ontario, unfold like notes to self, even when they’re addressed to a notional “you.” These songs bear titles like “From Now On” and “Promise Not to Think About Love,” and strike a sound that nods to Fleetwood Mac and the early Joni Mitchell. Ms. Bulat has a voice well suited to interiority, warm and honeyed, though it cuts through the reverberant throb of the music.
Pour l’auteure-compositrice-interprète torontoise Basia Bulat, la mort d’un être cher l’a poussée à courageusement mettre de côté tout le travail déjà entamé sur son troisième album. S’en est alors suivi une période de création fertile qui lui a non seulement permis d’écrire des textes très personnels, mais aussi d’explorer de nouveaux horizons musicaux (avec synthés, piano et charango péruvienne). Tall Tall Shadow, qui paraîtra mardi prochain sous étiquette Secret City Records, est un album folk surprenant aux arrangements riches en contrastes et en textures.
Basia Bulat has the kind of voice that works its way through your ears to take up residence somewhere in your heart. Aside from the fundamental beauty of her vocals, the raw emotion in every note creates a sense of intimacy – a quality that strongly informs her third full-length.
It's been nearly three years since folksinger Basia Bulat's last album, Heart of My Own but the lengthy wait has paid off. The Canadian folksinger's latest, Tall Tall Shadow, is a highly personal work born out of love and sadness.
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«C’est dû côté des paroles que l’artiste surprend davantage en y allant de strophes plus terre-à-terre qu’éthérées, sans y perdre de sa poésie.»
La fameuse dose de courage appliqué à Tall Tall Shadow a aussi imbibé les textes selon l’artiste. «C’est sûrement mes chansons les plus personnelles à ce jour. Tellement que ça a été difficile d’en coucher certaines sur papier.»
The Polaris-shortlisted and Juno-nominated folk-pop singer-songwriter, 29, turned heartbreak into some of her most direct and affecting ballads
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