Cinder Well Releases Haunting Look Into The Future With 'A Scorched Lament'
By Devon Leger.
Cinder Well is releasing the third single, “A Scorched Lament”, from her upcoming album, Cadence, on Free Dirt Records (due out April 21, 2023). The single features a brand-new and haunting music video from Cinder Well shot by Irish videographer Ruth Clinton of the band Landless. The song itself is a meditation on the impending massive changes of our times from the voice of a blackbird, a commonly featured messenger character in traditional folklore.
Oceans flow through the center of Cinder Well’s music. Cadence, the new album from Amelia Baker’s experimental folk project, drifts between two far-flung seas: the hazy California coast where she grew up, and the wind-torn swells of Western Ireland that she’s come to love. Due out April 21, 2023 on Free Dirt Records, the album’s name refers to the cycles of our turbulent lives, to the uncertain tides that push us forward and back. Recorded at Hen House Studios, just blocks from the famed Venice Beach Boardwalk in Los Angeles, the songs of Cadence search for a sense of grounding and a feeling of home. Though California’s beaches are the backdrop of this album, Irish influences emerge as well. The folklore of the old ways still looms in her mind, now tinged with the kind of growth that comes from returning to your roots. With Cadence, Baker expands Cinder Well’s sound to include percussion as well as trance electric guitar and expansive string parts courtesy of Cormac MacDiarmada of Lankum.
While there are still hints of the doom folk that Cinder Well is known for, Cadence balances heavy lyrics with a more expansive sound that nods to LA’s mythical Laurel Canyon years. “So much of my music has been made far from home,” Baker says. “There was something about recording in California that felt cathartic.” Caught between two worlds, Cadence is about recapturing the rhythms of life after a time of deep isolation, about finding balance amongst uncertainty.
Contributing musicians include bassist Neal Heppleston (Jim Ghedi), violist Jake Falby, and Cormac MacDiarmada (Lankum), whose evocative and lush string parts allow Cinder Well’s transcendental voice to soar more than ever before. Heavy yet hopeful, Cadence moves beyond the minimalism of Cinder Well’s previous album. It is expansive, bringing brighter color and higher peaks to her songs, perhaps a reflection of the world outside the studio. “It’s so wild,” she says, “you’re in the quiet sanctuary of the studio behind thick wooden doors, then you walk outside and it’s the chaos of Venice Beach.” Driving down the coast along the beautifully scenic Highway 1, Cinder Well sang along to Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark to warm up for the recording sessions, then settled into a calming space that allowed her to explore new directions for her music.
The feeling of being suspended between two worlds is subtly, yet profoundly, woven throughout Cadence. “I was continuously trying to reconcile having homes in two places,” Baker says. “I was trying to hold both of those parts of me.” Cadence is an album torn between home and a new land you’ve come to love. It’s about finding acceptance in the ever-changing tides, and reclaiming your creativity during a time of great personal strife. Splitting her time now between two West Coasts (Ireland and California), she reflects that “the ocean is my homebase no matter where I am.” Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that she opens Cadence with a song about selkies—seals that turn human on land. More than simply a folk legend, the shapeshifting selkies are a befitting metaphor for Cinder Well herself: a songwriter tied to the ebb and flow of the ocean’s tides, whether they be half a world apart or a few steps from her home.