ITASCA: UNMOORED BY THE WIND

January 21st, 2015 | Album reviews

ITASCA
Unmoored By The Wind
New Images

Precise and desolate guitar-and-voice folk that everyone says sounds like Sybille Baier, which is right and wrong at the same time—Baier’s Colour Orange is loneliness compounded upon loneliness til it becomes more like anesthetic than music, and while Kayla Cohen’s Itasca is fearlessly lonesome and sad, she stops long before that point of paralysis. What she does share with Baier, however, is a kind of total fluidity of delivery, where she sings anything she sings and the music slips and flows around her. Put it this way: once there was a song called “Walking In The Rain,” and that’s her style of playing now, too. The opening interlude and the instrumental passages here recall guitarist Peter Walker in contemplation—sharp, deliberate, suggestive in its minimalism—and, well, that’s Cohen’s voice, too, except for the sharp part. She’s more agile than Baier but just as direct, and when she lattices her vocals on songs like “Buzzard Gulch Well” or closer “Glass,” you’ll think of Linda Perhacs, too. Unmoored By The Wind is a funny name for this album, since the music here is anything but flying wild and frightened free—instead, the photo on the back is a better tell, with silhouettes of mountains split by sky and empty space. But maybe the title means the state of mind: as she sings on “Nature’s Gift,” “I was staring at these windows for hours … I was just looking for a sign.”

—Chris Ziegler

ITASCA WITH RENE HELL, DOLPHINS INTO THE FUTURE, FLORIS VANHOOF, DRACULA LEWIS AND MANY MORE ON SUN., JAN. 25, AT THE INTERNATIONAL MYSTERY FEST AT JEWELS CATCH ONE, TKTKT. 4 PM / $16 / ALL AGES. THECHURCHONYORK.COM. INFO AND TICKETS HERE!