'Unmoored By The Wind' is little more than unrelenting tape hiss, understated guitar strums and Kayla Cohen's echoing voice, making it a truly intimate folk record that does away with the world and celebrates isolation. Known for this record as Itasca, Cohen's songs are lethargic, spreading out slowly and wistfully rather than being written around strict verses and choruses. She recalls Sibylle Baier in this sense, and also Jason Molina, for she has the same ability to suspend her music in time -- to make commanding songs that spill over the edges and stay longer than they should.
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- Unmoored By The Wind by Itasca
Itasca is the alter-ego of New York State-based singer-songwriter Kayla Cohen, who has been self-releasing a series of cassettes and CDrs over the past five years but has only now made it to vinyl thanks to the nice folks at New Images. Like those self-released titles, 'Unmoored By The Wind' was recorded at Cohen's home, with a still and intimate sound which (bar a handful of subtle overdubs) focus on the singer-songwriter's pure, heartbreaking voice and fluid fingerpicking style, both of which have won me over before I even reach the end of the first side.
The human-with-guitar formula is of course one which has been done many, many times before, but this is a particularly arresting take on it, with mystical meandering song structures and a beguiling delivery, bringing to mind contemporaries like Sharon Van Etten and Laura Gibson. Whoever wrote the item description mentioned Jason Molina, and I see what they meant, the understated simplicity really serves to draw the listener into her world of haunting tension and soothing softness. Her guitar playing in particular is exceptional. It's a thumbs up from me.
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