Returning Current, is the title of the forthcoming release from Snowblink. The album’s theme deals with an unflinching study of human relationships – to self, to other, and to Other, and to the threat or actuality of losing those unrepeatable prizes. Set for release on September 9 via Outside Music, the Toronto / Los Angeles duo of Daniela Gesundheit and Dan Goldman began the recording process with a text based ‘mood board’ developed by Gesundheit to portray the sensations she wished to evoke in the production of the album.
Practically, this ambition meant that the band approached each song uniquely – here a full band live off the floor in a winter cabin, there a painstaking half-year-long process of revision, here a drum sample from years ago mixed with dozens of layers of analog synths and vocals. In sculpting the singular sound of Returning Current, no process was out of bounds – the band made themselves equally at home with a bevy of acoustic instruments, analog processes, or sample-based in-the-box production choices.
“Feel Like A Man”, is a song that “came out of a sort of ambition-exhaustion, a masculinity burnout – career-related, especially,” says Gesundheit. I wondered if other women felt similarly, that they had to figuratively and energetically be ‘in drag’ to get their voices heard. I pictured myself as a man, feeling both the elation and intense frustration of being powerful. The lyrics are buoyed above a repetitive synth pattern and relentless groove – a kind of echo of foot soldiers going out each day to conquer based on orders from above without being entirely clear on what the war is all about.”
Joining Snowblink in studio for the creation of Returning Current was co-producer Robbie Lackritz (Feist, Bahamas), and a cast of acclaimed musicians including Leslie Feist, Owen Pallett, Barbara Gruska (Fiona Apple, Jenny Lewis, Ray LaMontagne), Johnny Spence (Tegan and Sara), Thom Gill, Ariel Engle (AroarA), Steven Foster (Doldrums), Felicity Williams (Bahamas), Philipe Melanson (Rufus Wainwright), Mika Posen (Timber Timbre), and many others.
What results is “mastery at its liquidiest” claimed Feist in a personal letter to the band. A collection of songs that find the speaker reporting, in the stark, James Blake-esque ballad “Second Sight”, that “the sky was kneeling on my back to pray,” or elucidating the slipperiness of desire, as in Returning Current. These are private songs, domestic songs, songs to be absorbed over time – unhurried, biological time, the passage of which helps us to survive ourselves.
Looking to the emotional intelligence of heavyweights like Nina Simone, PJ Harvey, or Violeta Parra, or poets Anne Carson and Fanny Howe, while adhering to the optimistic and playful presentation of ’80’s French pop duo Elie & Jacno, Snowblink manages a courageous strangeness, otherness, an optimal mismatch.
RETURNING CURRENT TRACKLIST
Feel Like a Man
Torn to Light
SNOWBLINK TOUR DATES
9/6 – The Ship, St John’s
9/7 – Timber Lounge, Halifax
9/8 – Plan B, Moncton
9/9 – The Capital, Fredericton
9/10 – Buoy Gallery, Portsmouth
9/11 – Trans Pico, Brooklyn
9/14 – Le Cercle (Bassment), Quebec City
9/15 – Casa Del Popolo, Montreal
9/16 – Pressed, Ottawa
9/17 – Sandbanks Festival, Picton
9/18 – Park Theatre, Winnipeg
9/19 – Bassment, Saskatoon
9/21 – Broken City, Calgary
9/22 – The Flying Steam Shovel, Rossland
9/23 – China Cloud, Vancouver
9/26 – Hungry Brain, Chicago
9/27 – Rock Island, Illinois, TBD
10/01 – Sounds Quixotic (in-store), Toronto
10/5 – Starlight, Waterloo
10/7 – The Garnett, Peterborough
10/8 – Burdock, Toronto
10/9 – Burdock, Toronto