by Tom Alexander (@___alexd)
Until last month, I’ve found Renata Zeiguer’s music almost impossible to describe. Her songs are structured in such a way that sounds both completely unfamiliar and very intuitive. If you think that sounds contradictory, well, I’m right there with you. Her new EP, Faraway Business, contains the Rosetta Stone – the piece of information that allowed this writer to more clearly see what Zeiguer was doing in her unspeakably beautiful music. The first track of Faraway Business is “Chega de Saudade,” a cover of a classic Joao Gilberto bossa nova song, and with that in mind, the pieces all come together; her music is art-pop rock-n-roll written by a classically trained musician who likes bossa nova!
“Gravity” was the last track written (and ordered) on Zeiguer’s debut, Old Ghost. It’s a fantastic song, and it shows up again on Faraway Business in an alternate form. On first listen, it sounds stripped back, with much of the production and arrangements of the original removed to make the song even more intimate than it was before. A muted, retro drum-machine underscores Zeiguer’s voice, a guitar, and an organ, nearly sounding like an early demo of the original. This, like all of her music, is a deception; all of the instruments by the end of “Gravity” have carefully emerged from their haze, so by the time she hits the refrain of “Never gonna lose,” the song is as big as the version from Old Ghost. The feint of a lo-fi beginning is there to get you to drop you guard, pulling you in carefully and holding you tight.
At a recent live show, Zeiguer teased a live song (“Picnic in the Dark”) and hinted that more would be soon on the way. Hearing that new music might be hot on the heels of 2018’s incredible Old Ghost and the recent Faraway Business EP feels like we’re being spoiled. We’re lucky to have an artist like her making music today.
Renata Zeiguer’s “Gravity (Alt Version)” is on Post-Trash: Volume Four, a compilation to benefit RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services). The recently released Faraway Business is out now via Northern Spy Records.