Art As Catharsis is proud to announce the release of ‘Strings’, a colourful four-track journey from the mind of Sydney based art-folk virtuoso Bonniesongs.
While drawing subtle influence from Jim Black’s improvised jazz record ‘AlasNoAxis’, Bonnie Stewart’s efforts on ‘Strings’ sit closer to experimental folk. All in all, ‘Strings‘ bears similarities to Joanna Newsom’s fluttering melodies, Cat Power’s more stripped back songs and Bjork‘s embrace of natural elements. Beyond these comparisons, Stewart is also neck-deep in the Australian indie scene – performing with the likes of Emma Davis, Alyx Dennison and many more.
“Musically, the concept was to open up these different song worlds dynamically and sew them together in a flowing way,” says Stewart of the record. “Before this collaboration, I performed a solo ‘song by song’ approach. Here I wanted to experiment with tying in improvised moments and textural sound worlds with the folky style of Bonniesongs. We studied Hohup, the Korean concept of breath with movement, along with how seasons and nature can be translated with music. We also experimented with weird sounds on the mandolin and trying to drive some of the music using my loop pedal.”
Guided by acoustic guitar, cello, viola and wispy vocals, Follow Me takes the listener’s hand and drags them through the wooded world of Stewart’s imagination. The minimalistic composition and cyclic guitar work breathes a sense of ritual, spaciousness and wonder – adding to the journey as Stewart leads onward.
“I had images of Ireland writing this track, particularly the east coast Wicklow-Dublin train ride” says Stewart. “I’ve always lived on the coast and taken the train to Dublin many times so I have these really strong images engrained in me of the sea, rock, hills and greenery. The song is just this sort of vague dreamlike vision of different magical worlds, mostly inspired by visualizing this train ride.”
Backed by collaborators Freya Schack-Arnott on Cello and Sacha Bota on Viola, Stewart’s composition dances between conventional and uninhibited. Through challenging modern conventions the Australian folk scene is oft beholden to, ‘Strings’ in its entirety offers refreshing bursts of complexity and wonder. Stewart’s voice calls as clearly and distinctly as birdsong, while every instrument wonderfully accentuates its surroundings. For lovers of atmosphere, shifts in feeling and distinctively airy vocals, this one is for you.
Bonniesongs’ first single, Follow Me, is available HERE via Bandcamp, Spotify, and all good digital music platforms.