11 October 2019 (released)
29 October 2019
Armed with piano, synths, loops and vocoder, Peoria, Illinois-based singer-songwriter Sarah Schonert composes highly layered pieces that fuse classical with ethereal textures and chilled-out trip-hop. Songs About Sounds is her 10th album and 4th full-length LP and again finds herself musing on warm coffee contemplations. She contrasts her beguiling piano melodies with idiosyncratic vocals for a sound that feels simultaneously old and new.
Phasing keys and lo-fi beats are interspersed with stuttering tremolo vocals on the opener 'All This Noise'. Schonert channels her dismay with modern cacophony in a trip-hop influenced tune. 'The Sound of Falling Down' takes a softer approach, focussing more on the piano melodies as she explores the nature of failing. Her journey takes her down the rabbit hole with several references to Alice in Wonderland and her voice is disseminated into a hundred digital pieces and steam-like samples wipe across the soundscape. Schonert emulates Carrollian existential confusion with her sonic manipulations.
Instrumental track 'Formular' strips away the vocal layers letting her sunny, music box-like composition shine through. Swelling reversed delay sings over calmly jubilant piano cadences. The track lets you drift away on a summer day. A definite album highlight. Schonert's album favourite 'Hold You Up' has the backbeat of an 80s hit. Classic drum machine hits and timing, robust lower register electric piano and swirling sound effects. Late album track 'Ain't No Weight but Your Own' offers another highpoint. Schonert utilizes the analog vocoder to stunning effect transforming herself into a cyborg Enya, creating a techno-spiritual ballad.
Songs About Sounds once again blends a tapestry of production with glowing piano lines. A suburban trip-hop that keeps its emotional explorations to small-town challenges. Schonert densely layers vocals which at times create a beautiful choir and at times can be a bit convoluted.