‘You connect completely and engage effortlessly with the ever-present sense of comforting melancholy.’
Releasing five tracks throughout 2022, Bristol based singer, songwriter and violinist boci (pronounced ‘bocky’) has just given us her stunning debut album ‘we are each other, this will set us free’. Containing 13 tracks, each one offers up something different and showcases the wide range of genres which she takes inspiration from. From the initial moments of instrumental opener ‘Stories’, to jazz ballad-esque ‘Eruption’, to the multi faceted closer ‘Out Beyond’, your appreciation for what boci has created consistently grows. For me though, the one which truly showcases her musicality is ‘Golden Sky’. Read on to discover exactly why.
Sitting at Track 3 on ‘we are each other, this will set us free’, Golden Sky is a thing of utter beauty. Instantly there is a gentleness to the atmosphere, a softness to the infusions of folk and jazz, and an unbounded level of tenderness within the emerging vocals. This is indeed music of high quality performed with an understanding of musicality that’s even higher. Of course, some of you may already be aware of this given the track’s live counterpart was boci’s first release earlier this year, but this album version is one that only builds on the acoustic intimacy found in the former.
Enhancing the connections between instrumental and lyrical elements that we are to find within the track, almost immediately we have a sense of musical foreshadowing. Blending acoustic guitar with double bass and sweeping atmospherics, there is a sense of mystical movement generated. Alone transcendent, but later combining with mentions of the moon, soft sand, and waves within the vocals, there is an omnipresent sense of boci creating music in a way that’s true to herself.
Hinting at the changes of tone which are soon to occur, on arriving at the pre-chorus more gently directive percussive motifs work in beautiful contrast to the underlying delicate acoustic guitar lines while recurring vocal portamento take the tenderness to new heights. Where the opening relied on more detached phrasing and subtle accompaniments, these take us in the direction of textural growth. Furthermore, in cymbal rolls carrying a wave like tendency, we are guided to a main chorus which can only be described as transcendently mesmeric.
In places retaining the aforementioned lyrical delivery, the phrases provided here sit among an embellished setting of folk influenced drums and more elongated harmonic progressions. However, contrary to how the detachment found within sentences such as ‘the birds are weaving through the atmosphere’ could feel, a false impression of each word flowing into the next is experienced. Achieving a similar effect, the compound rhythms infer a change of pace and increased musical freedom and as such, you connect completely and engage effortlessly with the ever-present sense of comforting melancholy.
Transitioning back to verse centred content, in the most subtle way the vocal evolves into more shapely, continuous phrases. Balancing this what we experienced in the first verse, this time around you fully realise the cleverness of boci’s songwriting. Appropriately given the inclusion of the word ‘scattered’, the phrases we experience give off the appearance of thoughts freely springing to mind. However, each word and vocal sequence is in fact incredibly considered and incredibly crafted. Likewise, the title centred lyricism occurs in an unpredictable, yet immensely inviting manner.
Proving to be just as inviting as the aforementioned, auditory glimpses of boci’s understanding around writing more classically for strings is soon heard too. Switching between registers, stirring violin countermelodies peak through briefly emulating their avian counterparts. Equally, the inclusion of selective harmonic vocals provided by Pearl Love on ‘tree branches reaching high’ gently reinforce the ever-present symbolic connections with nature. Everything does indeed work together so wonderfully, but it is perhaps in the tracks final moments where this becomes most apparent.
While there has been little hint that each instrumental and vocal idea has been building to this contrasting conclusion, once you experience it you can’t imagine it heading anywhere else. Sure the live acoustic version is special, but the transformation here is just magical. Bringing real depth, electric guitar strums ring out among a musical sea of double bass motifs, harmonised clarinet, and gentle drums. High and low pitched string melodies continue to deliver their bird like quality in dovetailing with boci’s vocals. And together the sound is nothing short of utterly stunning. Trust me when I say that ‘Golden Sky’ – and in fact the whole of boci’s debut album ‘we are each other, this will set us free’ – are not to be ignored.
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