Natural Pleasures-I Know What’s Real (KSX Solutions)
One of the most enjoyable things about music is being taken totally by surprise. Carrie Ford has spent the last few years releasing music under the moniker beautywork. This music ranges from abstract soundscapes, sheer facemelters and something in between. It’s been a delight to see Ford grow with every release. Each one feels like a step forward, both in terms of scope and ideas. When Ford announced she would be releasing a new album titled I Know What’s Real, I was excited. When it arrived, however, I wasn’t prepared for how different it was.
The first thing you notice about I Know What’s Real is how musical it is. This isn’t a slight on Ford’s previous releases, but I Know What’s Real consists of Ford playing a piano and singing in a falsetto voice. This is about as far removed from her previous releases as you could get. It took a few listens to get over the shock. Each time I was expecting that one of the songs were going to U-turn into the sound of a building collapsing and being recorded from the inside. Instead, we are presented with tender piano ballads. I am reminded of Scott Walker and Laura Nyro whilst listening to I Know What’s Real. The music doesn’t really sound like Nyro’s, other than it features piano and glorious vocals, but it has the same vibe. There is a sadness to Ford’s delivery but there is also something joyful too. Ford isn’t wallowing in self-pity, but instead she’s using for something productive. Lyrics like “When I wake I push the light away to gray, When I see me in the corner she turns back from me”, “Down, down, down ditch Bitch, My envy a pit” and “Seeking. Seeking. How to know this urging, this longing to go back to a home” pretty much sums it up.
‘Dream Room’ closes the EP. From the opening bars I can imagine Ford in a late-night bar, smoke lazily rising from ashtrays, you’ve had one drink too many. Melancholy is taking over, but you want to hear something to take the edge off. “Breathing. Breathing, Mirror on the wall” she effortlessly sings “Sometimes vision in clear. What I’m grieving is written right here”. It is the standout moment, and it finishes off the EP perfectly.
On I Know What’s Real, Ford lets her guard down by demonstrating that she is more than capable of making us cry as much as she is able to incite our burning rage. After listening to the EP, I’m left wanting more. Not more from the EP. It’s perfect the way it is but wanting to hear more of what Ford can deliver. Does she have more of this in the archives, or was this a one off? Hopefully not, but if it is, what a release she has unveiled onto the world. This is one of the most powerful, and mesmerising, pieces of music released this year, or any other year for that matter. Ford truly is an exceptional talent and we’re lucky to be alive at this time to witness it.
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