Laura Ryder - Freeze / Fall
Info: Mayo singer-songwriter based in Dublin, Laura Ryder released her debut E.P., haiku two weeks ago. The multi-instrumentalist who also plays the ukelele, glockenspiel, piano to name but a few, released her latest outing on Fire at the Hall of Records.
A haiku is a traditional Japanese poem which consists of three lines, with the first and last line having 5 moras, and the middle line having 7. A mora is a sound unit, much like a syllable, but is not identical to it, with haiku's rarely rhyming. The characteristic Ryder's E.P. shares most closely with the meaning of its title is that it is an unconventional expression of the genre she performs and writes in.
Opening with 'Pullover', you're struck by the steep drop in mood from the song's opening, smiling bars. Ryder embarks on an introspective of the self, we're all told to love and be kind to ourselves, but this isn't always easy and can in fact become a wearying drain; 'this is my skin that I'm snared within, it doesn't mean that I can love it...', sometimes the quickest route to a sense of contentment is by covering ourselves with the metaphorical pullover.
Laura Ryder - SnowColdWhiteNoise
Second track 'Dark' sees Ryder to continue examining the theme of being self-aware and being comfortable working her way through that process. You'd be forgiven for thinking from my descriptions so far that we're dealing with bleak themes, and undeniably we are, but Ryder has the ability to deliver them in a way that almost lets you detune from the lyrics and merely hear the music which itself is quite uplifting in an emotionally beautiful way.
If the second half of haiku was as good as the first half I would have said that this is an impressive E.P., but it's better. 'Freeze / Fall' (top) puts the song-writing into song-writer, a story enveloped in warm and ancient musical sounds, the violin (courtesy of Aisling Bridgewell) perfectly if unintentionally painting a traditionally Irish / pagan Celtic mood, night-time in the misty woods before a ritual, with Ryder's voice describing the scene to our imaginations.
Finally we have 'SnowColdWhiteNoise' (above), and an opportune moment to mention something that I felt from my very first listen to this E.P., that Ryder doesn't look to her influences or peers, from my perspective at least. Her music is truly individual as are her vocals, which is so welcome, of course they are there no doubt, but they haven't been allowed to spread themselves all over her music and this collection of songs is all the more better for it. I love how this track starts with bare bones and almost casually meanders into strings and piano to leave you with a lasting impression by it's end. Now, I'm off to enjoy the pile of other tracks on her SoundCloud.
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