Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Juno-Nominated Basia Bulat's Third Album 'Tall Tall Shadow' Informed by Loss

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Juno-Nominated Basia Bulat's Third Album 'Tall Tall Shadow' Informed by Loss

Article excerpt

Basia Bulat's disc informed by loss


TORONTO - Basia Bulat still has a hard time talking about her recent loss of a loved one, which is perhaps part of why she chose to sing about it.

So it was that the Juno-nominated singer/songwriter found herself grief-stricken and reeling just two months before she was set to record the follow-up to her standout sophomore record "Heart of My Own." She'd already crafted an album's worth of new material, but given the sad recent developments she was enduring, she tossed aside what she'd written and started again.

And she found the music just poured out of her.

"I wanted to restart and ... really not hold myself back in the singing and the writing, and just see what might come out," the Toronto-based singer said in a recent interview. "It wasn't really, 'now I'm going to write about this and now I'm going to write about that' -- it was more of a freeform approach to writing.

"One of the songs on the record, 'It Can't Be You,' I was just playing the triangle and singing, whatever came out was the song. It happened really quickly. It wasn't like, 'hey, let's explore this.' It was literally what was in my heart at the time of writing."

And the resultant record -- "Tall Tall Shadow," in stores this week -- is appropriately intimate and devastating as one would expect, but also fairly hopeful.

Perhaps that reflects what Bulat says was a liberating recording experience working with producers Tim Kingsbury and Mark Lawson, the former a member of Arcade Fire and the latter a Grammy-winning engineer on that Montreal band's 2010 smash "The Suburbs." Past collaborator Howard Bilerman, another Arcade Fire associate, also contributed.

But even as her network of co-conspirators broadened, Bulat seemed to put ever more of herself into her music. Aside from her pliable, honey-coated voice, she's long set herself apart with her mastery of a variety of instruments, and on "Tall Tall Shadow" she capably employs an especially broad array: guitar, piano, synthesizer, pianoette, organ, autoharp, charango and wurlitzer.

"I played more of the instruments this time around on this record, and that was in part a conscious decision," she says. …

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