The Sheltering Ranges

Sonya Waters

Cudighi Records, 2021

http://sonyawaters.wordpress.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/08/2021

A New Zealand artist whose diverse career includes playing in the punk band The Instigators way back in the '80s, and more recently with White Swan Black Swan, Sonya Waters finds herself submerged in ambient textures here. An effort that bridges art and music together, Waters uses loops, synths, pianos, phonetic poetry, and wind turbine field recordings to produce a very distinct and calming sort of pop. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Spring Tide” starts the listen soft, even dreamy, as soothing synth and subtle nods to pop are met with Waters' hazy vocals, and this delicate approach continues to the atmospheric and piano friendly textures of the surreal “Eddies.”

Even though all the tracks present are compositions by Waters, only the first eight are performed by her. The remaining six are remixes of previous songs on the album.

Of the first half of the listen, “The Straights” turns minimalism into an art form with its strategic repetition and expressive vocals, while the title track mixes both an ominous undercurrent and bare beauty into the record highlight. “First Frost,” the last of the songs performed by Waters, then recruits a hypnotic sequence of keys alongside precise electronics amid a cinematic quality that even touches on post-rock.

Of the remixes, Dugal McKinnon's reworking of “Evaporation” floats with a light and airy presence, and Ludus interprets “Spring Tide” with a modern electro-pop approach that's both playful and very melodic.

Rami Moscovich's version of “First Frost” is the standout on the back half of the record, and displays a mesmerizing quality where vocals are used like an instrument and the instruments all manipulate sound with much care. Maryana Klochko's “The Straights” finishes the affair, and pairs elegant singing with videogame-esque noises in its adventurous spirit.

Rating: B+

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