By Amanda Nordqvist
Proving himself no stranger to the composing world, Vancouver-based Nathan Shubert recently released his debut album, Folds – and his experience in playing alongside an array of different musicians shines through every single note. More so than an album, Folds seems a collection of thoughts, spanning over the six months he spent tirelessly creating, piece after piece, until landing in the 11 tracks that all seem to represent its own idea.
The listener is instantly thrown into Shubert’s expressive world with the beginning Chairs, a highly cinematic piece which immediately reminds me of scenes from The Fall, with the same sense of steadily growing, almost panic-inducing urgency, and much like the series, the track leaves me with a longing, no, a need for more.
Quickly, I am introduced to the title track, and the change of scenery and atmosphere is dizzying, yet intriguingly welcome. Folds seems based on a steady surge forward that helps anchor the eager melody, and the repetitive nature of the piece lulls the listener into a trance-like state, only to be softly carried into Fencing, a playful, cheery track that shows a more dynamic side to Shubert – it seems to have its own conscience, breathing in and out, following its own whims.
Shubert keeps reinventing himself throughout the album, with the dreamy Encampment, the ever-moving, vastly emotional Cedar and Stone, and the flirtatious, high-tempo Svalbard Bears – but the track I find myself repeating over and over is the captivating Saga Norén, Länskrim, Malmö. Though I realise I might be inclined to favour it since its title obviously speaks to me on a familial level, I can’t help but feel the track represents its namesake so perfectly – the monotonous, fast-paced ambience utterly matching that of the main character from the Swedish-Danish series, Bron.
Shubert appears to have poured all of his musical experience into this one album, and it seems a perfect representation of what he is capable of. It’s safe to say I am completely sold on his astonishing sound – the sincerity of the muted piano and the rhythmic noises that accompany it allows for such an intimate setting, I couldn’t help but be encompassed by it.