What does Keely Forsynth sound like?
Intense ambient intimacy.
The review of Keely Forsyth – Limbs
Ambient music is often calming, relaxing, chilled and subdued. Keely Forsyth fundamentally disagrees. On her new album “Limbs”, Keely paints a world around her that is dark, brooding and utterly captivating. Using predominantly synth, string and voice, she creates one of the most intimately intense albums I’ve heard in 2022.
“Bring Me Water” is the perfect example of what makes this album so great. The track starts out as a simple organ note that gently permeates into a hue of strings, organs and synths. Nothing really pulls an immediate melody out but it provides a mood that alludes to desolation. Keely Forsyth’s voice is a mixture of operatic and guttural singer-songwriter. She can flip from soft focus to a wail in a split second and then bellow “let me begin again” like a frightened animal cry. Keely’s vocal performance is worth the price of admission alone.
Thankfully, the music keeps up with her. “Limbs” is like a funeral dirge of cold beats and light organs. “Land Animal” is a creepy chamber-jazz drone piece. “Blindfolded” moves into contemporary classical and could be a theme for a dystopian future movie. “Wash” reminds me a little of Lotic and ANOHMI using atonal vocals and distant organs to create a cathartic mood. Meanwhile, “Silence” is a lethargic plod of glockenspiel and the internal mechanics of a piano. It contains just single notes moving down scales but every creak and sound is so vivid and clear. Horror movies, listen to this to instil fear and curiosity. Closing track “I Stand Alone” comes full circle with a beautiful aural ballad of harmonium organs and synths. Keely sounds defiant by home by the time we reach here though. Over the course of the album, her wails, rasps and growls become less frequent as she finds her resting spot. It is like being talked down to sleep, or to a calmer spot.
“Limbs” is a fascinating album and one I’ve been analysing since I picked it up a few days ago. I find my favourite music is often in the darker hues of melody. Keely Forsyth shows that relaxation and calm can be drawn out from these dark places as if taming a beast into a lull. Poetic, emotive and captivatingly intimate from start to finish, this is an album to treasure.
Recommended track: Bring Me Water
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